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Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields looks back at his decommitment from Penn State

On Saturday the Ohio State quarterback will square off with the head coach he had to make one of the hardest calls of his life to prior to his senior season in high school

Maryland v Ohio State Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

“It’s really like breaking up with your girlfriend. Say if you have a good relationship with her, you don’t want to break up with her, but you might have to because of circumstances outside.”

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields on decommitting from Penn State via Griffin Strom, The Lantern

Before deciding to start his college career at Georgia, quarterback Justin Fields had originally committed to Penn State. In the summer prior to his senior year of high school, Fields had to make one of the hardest phone calls of his life to let Penn State head coach James Franklin know that he was decommitting from the school.

Franklin and the Nittany Lions were interested in Fields coming to State College early on, getting in on the recruiting process when the best offers for the quarterback were from West Virginia and Northwestern. Once Fields committed to Penn State, that’s when some of the national powers came calling. Fields decided it was in his best interest to decommit so he could see what those other schools had to offer.

Fast forward a few years and Fields transferred out of Georgia and to Ohio State. When Fields entered the transfer portal, the Nittany Lions were on Fields’ radar, but in the end Ohio State won out. Now with the Buckeyes in the thick of the College Football Playoff race, Fields will square off with Penn State and the coach who invested so much into recruiting him in high school.

“I think Sevyn Banks is the next great corner at Ohio State. He’s really taken a tremendous leap from spring camp to fall camp to even now. He’s taken big strides and coach (Jeff) Hafley has commended him for it.”

Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah via Nathan Baird,

Last week, Sevyn Banks made his first start for Ohio State in place of Damon Arnette when the Buckeyes took on Rutgers. Currently, there is a ton of talent at cornerback for the Buckeyes with Jeff Okudah, Arnette, and Shaun Wade, but Banks is certainly a major part of Ohio State’s future plans in the defensive backfield.

The emergence of Banks didn’t come out of nowhere, though. As a freshman, Banks returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in the win over Michigan, and he impressed his teammates and coaches in the practices leading up to the Rose Bowl. Banks started this season on the special teams unit, but he has seen snaps at cornerback when the Buckeyes have built some big leads and pulled their starters. The sophomore cornerback picked off his first career pass against Northwestern.

What has really impressed co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley about Banks is his attention to the little things and execution. Banks has earned more trust from Hafley, which has resulted in him and Cam Brown seeing more time when Okudah, Arnette, and Wade have needed a rest. With Arnette exhausting his eligibility following this season, along with Okudah likely declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft, it’s likely we’ll be seeing a lot more of Banks next season.

“To me, it’s not even about a great catch it was or what people were saying or even if people thought it was lucky. It’s just about being able to prove that I’m reliable. Like when [Justin Fields] needs me, I’m there. It’s the same thing when I had the catch earlier when we were trying to go tempo, I take pride in that just as much as a touchdown catch.”

Ohio State tight end Luke Farrell via Austin Ward, Letterman Row

Ohio State tight ends have been sparingly used this season, but Luke Farrell made sure the unit got one of the most memorable catches for Ohio State this season. Last week against Rutgers, Farrell not only made a one-handed catch in the back of the end zone, but he was also able to get his foot down to secure the touchdown for the Buckeyes.

Even though Farrell is getting plenty of praise for his remarkable catch, he isn’t letting it go to his head. The tight end just wants to be able to be there for his quarterback when he is needed. After hauling in 20 passes last season, Farrell hasn’t seen as much work through the air this year, catching just four passes through 10 games.

Farrell knows his importance on the field goes well beyond the amount of catches he has this season. Blocking is a huge part of what gets Farrell on the field, as he is tasked with helping to protect quarterback Justin Fields, as well as clear some holes for running back J.K. Dobbins. With tough games against Penn State and Michigan on the horizon, Ohio State is going to need Farrell to continue to be at the top of his game the next two weeks.

Michael Drake has served as president at Ohio State since June 2014, but earlier today he announced that he would be retiring from the role next year. Ohio State will launch a national search for Drake’s successor, with trustee Lewis Von Thaer serving as the chair of the search committee.

Since taking over for E. Gordon Gee, Drake has led Ohio State to all-time highs in numerous areas, including applications, graduation rates, and retention rates. Another area where Drake has had a tremendous impact is with tuition rates. Under Drake, Ohio State implemented their first comprehensive tuition freeze for in-state students in 40 years.

Even though Drake is retiring from his position as president, he plans on remaining a part of Ohio State’s faculty. The influence of Drake during his time as president has helped shape Ohio State for years to come, and has solidified the university as one of the top institutions of higher learning in the country.