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After neck-and-neck spring game performances, will Ohio State’s Joe Burrow transfer?

The QB graduates next month and has two years of eligibility remaining.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Now, first and foremost, let me say that I have no idea who is going to start at quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes when they kick off the 2018 season against the Oregon State Beavers on Sept. 1. In fact, I’m not sure that anyone does.

OSU head coach Urban Meyer has said repeatedly throughout the spring that none of the three quarterbacks competing has distanced himself from the other two— at least that’s what he’s saying publicly. This is clearly a fantastic problem for any college football team to have, and many teams across the country would love to have just one of OSU’s QB options... and maybe one might get its wish.

Certainly, Meyer would like to keep all three of his potential signal-callers in the fold, because as the last few seasons have shown, having a backup QB who can competently take over should injuries arise is vital in the search for Big Ten and National championships.

So, that brings us to the curious case of Joe Burrow. Following last spring’s Scarlet and Gray scrimmage, it seemed pretty clear that the Athens, Ohio native was firmly entrenched as the backup behind J.T. Barrett. However, with just a week to go before the Buckeyes opened their season against Indiana, Burrow was forced to undergo surgery on his hand after breaking a bone during practice.

Fellow reserve Dwayne Haskins made the most of his opportunity, and took hold of the QB2 job, even performing admirably when Barrett was injured against Michigan. You might recall that there were more than a few in Buckeye Nation calling for Haskins to replace Barrett full-time.

With the most decorated quarterback in OSU and Big Ten history now gone, the program— and Burrow specifically— has come to a critical decision. This fall, Burrow will be a redshirt-junior, while Haskins, a redshirt-sophomore; meaning that they have two and three years of eligibility remaining, respectively.

So, the decision that Meyer and his offensive staff makes heading into the fall will not only impact the program for the next few years, but will impact the career trajectories (and ultimately, lives) of both young men competing to be the starter.

So Burrow has a decision of his own to make.

Burrow will receive his business degree from Ohio State next month, meaning that he would have the ability to transfer without impunity, play in 2018, and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Now, I think that Haskins has shown more than enough talent and poise to earn that spot (some of the throws he made on Saturday were unreal), but, the spring game stats certainly didn’t do enough to close the book on the competition either way.

Throwing the ball, Haskins finished 9-of-19 for 120 yards, while Burrow was 15-of-22 for 238 yards. Statistically, Burrow had the better day, but anyone who watched Saturday’s game knows that stats, rules, and rosters were a little bit nebulous for the scrimmage.

So, even if you take the stats on face value, and they gave Burrow a slight advantage in the competition, the question is, does that do enough to encourage him to spend another year of eligibility in a quarterback competition with a younger, more highly-recruited teammate? Or, does he assess his options, and determine that taking his talents elsewhere are the better decision for his collegiate— and perhaps eventually, professional— playing career?

To be a quarterback at a place like Ohio State, you have to be supremely talented, and just as supremely confident. So it’s likely that Burrow’s natural instincts are to trust that his abilities and work ethic are enough to put him on top when the official depth chart is released. However, that might not be the most prudent path to travel.

Now, I’m obviously not kicking Burrow out the door. I would love it if he and Haskins remained on the roster, giving Meyer, Kevin Wilson, and Ryan Day two talented options to do with what they see fit. (Keep in mind that Meyer didn’t exactly handle his last quarterback competition in the best way possible.)

However, I couldn’t blame Burrow if he decided to take the surer route and transfer to a program where he is more likely to start for the next two seasons, giving him the best opportunity to continue this playing career at the next level.

Either way, the months leading up to fall camp will be as interesting and impactful for the Buckeyes as they have been in recent memory, as Meyer tries to find the best way to set up his program post-Barrett.


After seeing all three play in the spring game, who do you think should be Ohio State’s starting QB?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Joe Burrow
    (1474 votes)
  • 32%
    Dwayne Haskins
    (814 votes)
  • 9%
    Tate Martell
    (227 votes)
2515 votes total Vote Now