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What’s happening with Ohio State’s quarterback recruiting?

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The Buckeyes are having some quarterback issues in 2019. What could that mean for the future?

Jack Miller
Ross Martin - 247Sports

Quarterback is a hot topic in recruiting every year. It’s the most important position on the football field, and every team in the country needs one. That means that recruiting quarterbacks is a high pressure, extremely important position for every school, especially those at the top of the college football world.

Ohio State has been one of the best schools in the nation at recruiting quarterbacks for more than a decade. With players like Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, JT Barrett, and now Dwayne Haskins running the helm, the Buckeye have been in good hands for a very long time, and that comes from recruiting.

While there have been a few misses along the way, Ohio State has generally been extremely good at recruiting QBs. That past success is what makes the class of 2019’s quarterback class so frustrating. The Buckeyes are without a quarterback commit in this class to this point, and while that’s not a huge deal yet, it will become more glaring as the summer passes by.

It’s important to have a quarterback locked up to lead your class, and the closer a team gets to signing day without one, the less likely they are to land a quality one. As each day passes, that’s becoming more of an issue for the Buckeyes. For months, Ohio State’s quarterback plan has been pretty obvious. Texas signal caller Grant Gunnell is the top target, and would ultimately be the guy.

That may not be the case anymore. Now, that doesn’t mean Ohio State has lost interest in the St. Pius X product, but there have been some questions in the recruitment. Those questions come mostly from Gunnell’s side, and center around the transfer of Joe Burrow. Gunnell doesn’t want to suffer a similar fate, so he’s taken a step back to reassess his recruitment. This happens a lot in recruiting, and doesn’t really mean anything.

At least it doesn’t in most recruitments. This isn’t most recruitments though. Gunnell is a very specific, rare circumstance. The best way to explain it concisely is that Gunnell was committed to a coaching staff, that staff was fired, and now they’re at another power five school, near his hometown. That doesn’t happen a ton, and it makes for a pretty obvious advantage for that school, which is in this case, Arizona, and their new head coach, Kevin Sumlin.

Arizona has a ton of momentum right now. That doesn’t mean that Ohio State is out of the recruitment, but they’re not where they want to be. Gunnell will likely commit in June, and at this point, that announcement will not yield good news for the Buckeyes. There’s still time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ohio State doesn’t start looking at other options soon. What do those options look like?

Dwan Mathis

I’m going to preface this by saying that this option is way more likely than the other 2019 option. Mathis, unlike the other player I’m going to talk about, actually has an Ohio State offer, and has been talking to Ohio State consistently. Ryan Day really likes Dwan’s game, and recently offered him after visiting his high school.

Mathis, ranked 11th among pro style quarterback, has been committed to Michigan State since September, but if Ohio State pushes, the Belleville, Mich., quarterback would be very receptive. This is Plan B if Gunnell falls through, and I imagine Ohio State will be in contact with Mathis quite a bit over the next few weeks. If they can get him on campus, he may be the pick at quarterback for this class.

Connor Bazelak

Every year, there’s an Ohio product that Buckeye fans champion as being the best option for leading Ohio State to the promised land. It rarely works, and players like this rarely pick up offers. We saw it with Brennan Armstrong in 2018, Danny Clark in 2017, Messiah deWeaver in 2016, and even Joe Burrow in 2015, in a round-a-bout way. It’s a common trend with Ohio State, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing it again in this class.

Dayton’s Connor Bazelak, a 6-foot-3 pocket passer is ranked 22nd among pro style quarterbacks, and holds offers from Georgia, and pretty much every second tier (think Missouri, West Virginia, NC State, Pitt, Kentucky, etc...) school in the country. He’s a talented player. I don’t think he’s Ohio State caliber, and there’s a reason they haven’t offered him yet. If they don’t have a quarterback come signing day, and they need one in 2019, it’ll probably be Bazelak. I don’t think it’ll get to that point.

Punt

Punting is the option we all know and love, and when it comes to quarterbacks in 2019 if the Buckeyes miss on Gunnell, it may the be the best choice. This is a historically weak quarterback class, and if Ohio State doesn’t love any prospects other than Gunnell, there’s no reason to take one that’ll never play in Columbus. That means that we could see the 2019 class finish with no quarterbacks in it, which would be disastrous for depth, especially if Dwayne Haskins leaves after this year, but good for quality at the position.

The reason that this might be the best choice is that the class of 2020 has significantly more talent at quarterback, and quite a few of the top gunslingers are interested in Ohio State. The Buckeyes lead for Arizona four-star Jack Miller, and are in the running for the best quarterback in the country, California’s DJ Uiagalelei. If Ohio State is worried about depth so much, but wants to wait for 2020, they could even consider taking two QBs in the class.

Pickerington’s own Demeatric Crenshaw, is a three-star, dual-threat prospect, and while he’s more of a project, he’s probably my favorite QB in the class. If Ohio State wants two, Crenshaw and Miller would make a lot of sense. However, we really have no clue what Ohio State wants right now. All we know is that if they miss on Grant Gunnell, they certainly have options.