Kenny Guiton's path to (and through) Ohio State is all but the stuff of legends, with the now former signal caller finding himself likely to never have to pay for a drink in Columbus ever again for the rest of his life.
With the Buckeyes striking out on a number of high profile quarterbacks in the class of 2009, the little known three-star quarterback from the Houston Area's Eisenhower Aldine High School joined OSU late in the recruiting process. His best offers prior had included some of the Big 12's have nots (Iowa State, Kansas) as well as local Houston and Rice.
Despite not a ton being expected of him, Guiton provided immediate depth and had the luxury of redshirting his freshman year. Guiton finished 11/21 for 167 yards and two touchdowns in his first spring game in 2010 and fans (and the then coaching staff alike) likely probably begin to suspect they had themselves a player on their hands.
Though he lacked the first or second day athletic ability of a Braxton Miller or Terrelle Pryor, Guiton won the locker room over quickly and was universally spoken of highly by hist teammates throughout his OSU tenure. Through no real fault of his own, Guiton was firmly locked into a ceiling of being the principal backup for the Buckeyes throughout his stay in Columbus.
The origin of Guiton's immortality began in October of 2012 when following a brutal injury to Miller, he was forced into action in a seemingly unwinnable game against a bad Purdue team. Trailing 22-14 with time rapidly depleting, Guiton drove the Buckeyes to a touchdown to put them within two and then ultimately a game tying two-point conversion with just three seconds left before leading the Buckeyes to a 29-22 victory in overtime. After the game, Urban Meyer glowed about Guiton in what wouldn't be the last time:
"Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary. I mean, that was a moment that I'll certainly never forget -- the quarterback jogging into the game, the old right-hander. (He) just did a heck of a job."
Though he only saw a few snaps for the remainder of the 2012 season, Miller's durability (or lack there of) forced Guiton back into action a number of times throughout his senior year.
Guiton again looked the part against Cal, this time as a starter, with his first pass of the game showing the Buckeyes were more than in good hands. He'd finish the year completing 75 of 109 passes (69% completion) for 749 yards, 14 TDs to just 2 INTs. Perhaps as impressively, he was only sacked once in the nine games he appeared in.
Coined "Coach Guiton" by the Buckeye brass, should the NFL not work out, there's no doubt he'd have a future in coaching and all but be guaranteed a graduate coaching opportunity in Columbus.
Can Kenny Guition come in and compete in earnest for a top 2 QB spot at the next level? Not likely. The same reasons he wasn't highly touted coming out of high school will follow him into the pros, but there are probably few late round/priority free agent types who prepare the way Guiton does. No one will outwork Guiton and if you want someone to compete for a shot at your practice squad and learn the playbook quickly, he's your guy.
Matt Cassel comparisons are sure to be in high supply, but Guiton doesn't have the same skill set the Vikings quarterback does. Can he be an effective practice squad or emergency quarterback at the next level? We wouldn't be surprised in the least.