Justin Fields practices with the Bulldogs before the Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome Saturday, Dec 29, 2018, in New Orleans.
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia QB Justin Fields confirms he’s transferring to Ohio State 

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Justin Fields has confirmed he is transferring to Ohio State.

The former Harrison High School star announced the news on Twitter Friday night.

“I’ve decided to transfer to Ohio State University where I will continue to pursue my undergraduate degree and play football for the Buckeyes,” Fields said.

Fields is the sixth key Georgia player to leave the program Friday. Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta and Elijah Holyfield each declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Freshman tight end Luke Ford announced he would be transferring to Illinois.

Fields’ decision had been expected, as his name had been in the NCAA Transfer Portal since Dec. 18. He was the nation’s No. 2 quarterback in the 2018 high school class and the No. 2 overall prospect. 

Fields entered the year with high expectations, but he was never able to find consistent playing time. He appeared in 12 of the Bulldogs’ 14 games this season. Fields did not start a game for Georgia this season, as he backed up sophomore Jake Fromm. Fields completed 27 of his 39 passes for 328 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions and he also rushed 42 times for 266 yards and four touchdowns.

Fields is expected to apply to the NCAA for a hardship waiver, which, if granted, would make him eligible to play at Ohio State in 2019.

 

Multiple sources told DawgNation that the Bulldogs coaches have been aware of Fields’ interest to transfer to Ohio State for more than two weeks. The only holdup was Fields wanting to make sure current Buckeyes QB Dwayne Haskins is indeed headed to the NFL. 

Letterman Row reporter Jeremy Birmingham was the first to break the news that Fields has made his decision final after weeks of speculation that Ohio State was the most likely landing spot for Fields. 

Georgia signee Dwan Mathis flipped his commitment from the Buckeyes to UGA after the Bulldogs staff reached out three days before the early signing day Dec. 16 and alerted him that Fields was likely headed to Ohio State.  

Mathis told DawgNation on Thursday night that he was interested in Georgia during his visit in July of 2017, but he felt Fields would ultimately land there and UGA wouldn’t be looking for a high-profile quarterback in the 2019 class. 

But with Fields leaving Georgia, Mathis recognized the opportunity to attend the school he fell in love with during that summer visit, and he was receptive when Georgia offensive coaches James Coley and Jim Chaney reached out to offer him a scholarship on signing day. 

Mathis has been told he’s positioned to be the No. 2 quarterback on the roster behind starter Jake Fromm, provided he progresses as expected in spring drills. Mathis completed four online classes in addition to his classes at Oak Park (Mich.) High School so he could enroll in January. 

Georgia also signed Stetson Bennett, a walk-on with the Bulldogs in 2017 who transferred to Jones Community College after that season. The undersized Bennett (6-foot, 172 pounds) completed 145 of his 259 passes (56 percent) for 1,840 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.  

Fields said after brief playing time in the SEC Championship game Dec. 1 that he appreciated his time at Georgia. 

“I feel like coming here kind of I could have probably went some other places, but I feel like coming here has definitely made me a better QB,” Fields said. “I feel like coming here like I didn’t want it to be handed to me like some other schools would have had. So I came here, and I’m just going to keep working.

 “I’m motivated because I mean I’m a competitor. I want to be out on the field. I know there are places in my game where I need to get better at. I’m just going to keep getting better and keep improving.” 

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