Thanks to a bit of ill-timed bad luck, Ohio State has found its backup quarterback for the start of the 2017 season. His name is Dwayne Haskins.
With news Tuesday that redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow suffered a broken bone in his throwing hand during practice on Monday, it’s now Haskins’ time to step up and take the No. 2 spot outright.
If you follow recruiting closely, you’re probably familiar with Haskins. But for the uninitiated, it’s a good time to get to know the young guy who is waiting in the wings behind J.T. Barrett. He’s the young guy who Barrett — who gives different names to all of his understudies — calls Ross.
Coming out the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., “Ross” was one of the country’s most-heralded recruits in the Class of 2016. A former Maryland Terrapins commit, Haskins flipped his verbal to Ohio State on Jan. 18, 2016. That decision was the realization of a vision that he and his family had for him years earlier, when he was a kid growing up in New Jersey.
⏪ to today 9⃣ years ago & you predicted the future pic.twitter.com/SuQ5vKZVEE
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) May 17, 2017
Pretty cool, right?
So the future is now, or at least closer to being now, so it’s time to get to know the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Haskins is today.
What are Ohio State coaches saying?
After taking a redshirt season in 2016, Haskins had been splitting reps with Burrow in the battle to become the backup quarterback at Ohio State. He’s had his ups and downs as you’d expect for any young player, but there’s little doubt he is capable of being a star in Columbus if everything falls into place.
“Talented,” is what new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day said about Haskins in the spring. “You watch him stand in the pocket and deliver the ball, you can see the ball spin off his hand. When you watch it, it just really jumps out at you how impressive and how talented he is.”
When Haskins signed with Ohio State, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer raved about Haskins in his signing day press conference.
“He’s a very good athlete,” Meyer said. “He wasn’t asked to run a lot, but when he did he was a very good athlete. I remember when we ran him around here [that] he was a very good athlete. As good a release and arm strength that I’ve seen at that age since I’ve been recruiting. If you go watch his highlight tape, just watch the ball come out of his hand, his arm strength. The fundamentals that Dwayne Haskins possesses right now is as good as I’ve ever seen in a young quarterback.”
After working with Haskins in 2016, Meyer, speaking in December 2016 while Ohio State prepped for the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson, was similarly effusive in his praise.
“He’s big-time,” Meyer said of Haskins. ”I was disappointed with him. He accepted his role for about two months, September, October — which happens — but the last month? He’s been on fire. I can see a great future in Dwayne. He’s got it.”
The physical similarities to Ohio State legend Cardale Jones are there with Haskins, but there also are similarities in style. Sure, he’s big (though not as big as the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Jones), but where they’re most alike is simple: arm talent.
“Dwayne, better known as Ross — he goes by Ross in the quarterback room. My man, Ross, with him I would say he’s a little risky,” Ohio State starting quarterback J.T. Barrett said in mid-August, speaking on Haskins. “He has the kind of mentality almost like Cardale. His arm can take him places, but then also he can get in some tight spots as well. I think when he’s set up to throw the ball and he’s in rhythm, he can rip it.”
No one ever expected Cardale Jones to be put into the situation he was put into at the end of the 2014 season. The Buckeyes won’t be fooled again, and Haskins has been preparing for his moment.
“The ultimate goal is to be the starter one day, so that’s what we’re all competing to be,” Haskins told the media on Aug. 14. “They always preach about 2014 and just how everybody was ready to play, whether it was Braxton [Miller] or J.T. or Cardale.”
Dwayne Haskins Hype Train is full steam ahead
Whatever happens in the next month (or however long Burrow is out), there’s an overwhelming sense that Haskins’ turn in the spotlight at Ohio State is coming sooner rather than later. Being able to leapfrog Burrow might expedite the process, but there’s been talk about his potential for months.
— Bruce Hooley (@BHOOLZ) April 17, 2017
“I am light years away from when I first started fall camp to now,” Haskins said during bowl season last year. “Just physically and mentally. The game has slowed down so much. Especially going against the first team and not only completing passes, but at a high rate.”
His former teammate, Malik Hooker — known as “The Freak” — saw similar qualities in Haskins.
“He’s a freak. I feel like if he would’ve went anywhere else … J.T. is a great quarterback — that puts what Dwayne Haskins had in mind on hold, but that doesn’t mean he’s not good enough to play here,” Hooker said. “That just means there’s someone who is a great quarterback and more mature than he is.
“You’d think it’s a game the way he goes out there and competes against us. There’s times he throws the ball and you’re just like, ‘Man, how did he get that in there?’ Dwayne Haskins is definitely something for everybody to be on the lookout for in the future.”
The future may be sooner than anyone thought.
The post Ohio State fans, meet your new backup QB: Dwayne Haskins appeared first on Land of 10.