The long wait is finally over for the Buckeyes. After months of searching, they’ve found their 2019 quarterback, in the form of Oak Park (Belleville, MI) product Dwan Mathis. Mathis, who took a surprise official visit to Columbus this weekend, had been one of Ohio State’s top quarterback targets since they extended an offer in early May.
There were questions from the time of the offer even up to this weekend about if it was actually a “committable” offer. Those questions were answered earlier this weekend when he arrived for that official visit, and answered even louder minutes ago when he ended his recruitment.
Obviously getting a quarterback committed is a huge deal, but this is important for more than just the value of the position. Let’s take a look at what this commitment means for the Buckeyes, and what Mathis brings to Columbus on the field.
On the field
The first thing that really stands out about Mathis on his film is just how big he is. He looks more like an NBA shooting guard than a football player, standing at 6-foot-5, but only weighing around 190 pounds. One of Ohio State’s first goals when Mathis arrives on campus, and even before that, will be getting some more weight on his frame.
With that being said, he’s neither scrawny nor meek. He’s got a very strong arm, and he exudes confidence, especially in the pocket. He’s able to step up in the pocket with ease, and he generally moves very well while looking downfield. He looks the part of a pocket passer with his footwork and arm strength. Ryan Day has a good base to build on.
There are a couple hitches in his game, however. He has an almost LeBron-like quality in his throwing motion, where, like the NBA superstar’s jumper, he tends to fade a bit when he throws. It’s particularly noticeable on deeper throws, and he seems to lean a bit too much onto his back foot when trying to launch the ball.
It isn’t a huge issue, and it’s not a super difficult fix, but it does hurt his distance potential a bit. It tends to limit zip, and can lead to passes floating a bit. What leads me to say that it should be a pretty easy fix is that he doesn’t do it all the time, and usually when he can stay leaning forward, while stepping into his throws, he’s on the money.
When he hits his rhythm well he can absolutely zip a pass, and for every throw under 20 yards, he’s usually great at hitting the natural motion well. I don’t think he has the natural arm strength of someone like Cardale Jones or Dwayne Haskins, but he can make pretty much any throw that Ohio State will need him to.
It’s really hard to shake the obvious running style comparison. It almost feels too easy, but when I mentioned his size, it almost certainly popped into your head as well. Dwan Mathis, when running, looks a lot like Terrelle Pryor. I don’t think he’s as good of an athlete, and he’s obviously not nearly as thick as Pryor, but his style and mannerisms look exactly like the former Buckeye.
He has the hesitation step down pretty much perfectly, and uses it very liberally. He’s never going to beat defenders with jukes or top end speed, but he’s a very capable runner. He’s an extremely long strider, and uses that to outrun everyone that doesn’t have elite speed. Unfortunately there’s quite a bit of top end speed in college football, but he should be fine running at the next level.
In the class
Mathis is the 12th member of Ohio State’s 2019 class. He’s going to be the quarterback for this class, and Ohio State is perfectly happy with that. After passing on Grant Gunnell and Connor Bazelak (while missing on Graham Mertz), Dwan has emerged as their favorite quarterback in the class. Ultimately, it came down to him and Brian Maurer, and Mathis pulled the trigger first.
This commitment moves Ohio State to ninth in the national rankings. They sit atop the Big Ten, as per usual, and could see some more movement here very soon, as a few other top targets consider committing following visits this weekend.
Once an Iowa State commit, Mathis flipped to Michigan State back in September, and seemed pretty solid. However, when Ohio State extended an offer, it seemed like he’d eventually end up in this class if the Buckeyes green lit him, and that happened on Friday. Two days later, Mathis is a Buckeye. Ohio State got their quarterback, Mathis is headed to his dream school, and Ryan Day has a new project with a ton of potential.