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Dwayne Haskins has been quietly doing everything right to lead Ohio State in 2018

It might not be in the headlines, but Haskins is earning the respect and trust of his teammates.

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

“It’s the job of a leader — earn trust. With all due respect to other sports, this is the most unique position in all of sport. You have to understand the entire defense, have to understand all other 10 players. He has to make decisions in split seconds. And, by the way, he’s got people like [Nick] Bosa trying to tear his throat out. It’s very unique position, but he’s done very well.”

-Urban Meyer via Kyle Rowland, The Blade

Even before J.T. Barrett’s last snap as a Buckeye, fans, analysts and media members have speculated about who would take over in his stead. As far back as last spring, the Joe Burrow vs. Dwayne Haskins storylines flooded spring camp headlines, and up until Burrow broke his hand, the No. 2 behind Barrett was never official.

Burrow’s injury would jettison Haskins to second-place on the depth chart, where he ended up claiming 171 total snaps during the 2017 season. Sure, a majority of those were in garbage time, but when Barrett went down against Michigan, Haskins had an opportunity eerily similar to Cardale Jones many moons ago.

When Haskins took over against TTUN, he completed 6-of-7 pass attempts for 94 yards, in addition to his 24 yards on three runs. It isn’t the most impressive stat-line, but the backup QB didn’t need to win the game on his own, he had running backs and receivers who could carry the ball into the end zone and a defense that few team’s could challenge.

At the end of the day, he led Ohio State to a comeback win against their biggest rival, securing yet another pair of Gold Pants for the team and keeping Urban Meyer’s undefeated streak against them in tact.

“He’s a good player,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days, according to The Blade. “Stature in the pocket was different. He made some good throws, and he was athletic getting out of the pocket. He looks like a fine quarterback. He played very well. That’s not an easy thing to do, coming off the bench and playing good — and he did.”

With his future still not secure following his performance in The Game, Haskins finally was able to breathe a sigh of relief when teammate — and good friend — Joe Burrow ultimately chose to transfer to LSU. Not that there isn’t still a QB competition in Columbus (helloooo Tate Martell) but Haskins has stepped up into a leadership role in the months since the 2017 season ended.

“You can see him stepping out of his shell, trying to get out of his comfort zone, and trying to adapt to that leader we need him to be,” wideout Parris Campbell said, according to Rowland’s article. “He’s just trying to adjust to that standard. It’s exciting to see because some guys are like, ‘It’s my show now. It’s whatever.’ But he’s actually doing the things he needs to be doing and trying to develop positively as a leader.”

So while there are still some question marks surrounding Haskins and how the Buckeye offense will look with him at the helm, he’s been quietly doing everything it takes to be a leader and quarterback at Ohio State.

The 2018 regular season doesn’t open with a bunch of cupcakes, like most seasons, so Haskins will have a pretty big test right away with Oregon State and TCU within the first three games.

Speaking of whooping up on Michigan...

In the FOX Sports preview above, Shannon Sharpe goes in on why Jim Harbaugh absolutely does not deserve to be the third-highest paid head coach in college football.

It’s hard to argue with so many valid points: he’s never beaten Ohio State, he can’t beat Michigan State regularly, he hasn’t taken his team to the Big Ten Championship game, and only plays in mediocre bowl games.

The whole 2:20 of the rant is priceless, from calling Harbaugh “Khaki Pants” to describing Michigan’s offense as “anemic, pathetic, mundane”.

Nick Bosa enters his junior season for the Ohio State Buckeyes as my No. 1 overall prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft. And he was an easy choice.”

-Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Nick Bosa is expected to be the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft next year. As we inch closer to the season, more focus will shift to the next draft class, and more people will be talking about Bosa — as if enough aren’t talking about him already.

Trapasso’s pretty-early Big Board for the 2019 draft includes more than just the one Buckeye though, in fact, he names five in his Top 100 prospects heading into the season.

While Bosa sits at the top of the list, Dre’Mont Jones was considered a Top 10 pick (No. 9), with the defensive tackle getting some early attention among the draft-niks. Trapasso also includes Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell (No. 68), linebacker Tuf Borland (No. 82), and offensive tackles Isaiah Prince (No. 93).

It’s still pretty early to say whether these five will finish the 2018 season ranked among the best in the country, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising for the Top 100 to include even more Buckeyes in the early months on 2019.

After Isaiah Prince’s first season at Ohio State, where the struggles were many and often, he’s really worked hard to become a staple on the O-line in the years since. To see him now sitting among some of the top draft prospects is a true testament to just how much he’s developed during his time in the scarlet and gray.

Buckeye Bits from the NFL

On Malik Hooker being placed on the Colts’ PUP list — Andrew Walker,

“Ballard said the team is waiting until the nine-month mark post-surgery — which will be around Aug. 9 or 10 — to re-visit Hooker’s availability, but he doesn’t, at this time, anticipate the second-year safety will miss much, if any, time to start the regular season.”

On getting to know Billy Price off the field — Rebecca Tobak, Cincy Jungle

What team are you most excited to face in the NFL? Pittsburgh. Just because being local all my people back home are Pittsburgh fans and there’s a bunch of OSU guys there like Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier.”

On Pat Elflein being added to the Vikings’ PUP list — Eric J. Thompson, Daily Norseman

“The team announced on Wednesday morning that Pat Elflein will begin Training Camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Elflein is still recovering from the fractured ankle he suffered in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Elflein will be required to be cleared by team doctors before returning to camp.”