“I think his physical traits are tremendous. Just in terms of his size (6-foot-3, 223 pounds), his ability to move, he’s got a strong arm. But then also he’s got good intangibles. He does. He understands what’s going on. He sees defenses. He, like I said, has a good football IQ.”
With the departure of Dwayne Haskins to the NFL, Ohio State fans are anxiously awaiting the chance to see his highly anticipated replacement in action, Justin Fields, who will be on display for the first time when the Buckeyes take the field for the spring game this Saturday. While the fans will get their first look at Fields in Ohio Stadium this weekend, head coach Ryan Day has watched his new signal caller closely throughout spring practice, and he is very impressed with what he has seen.
While Day has not yet officially named Fields the starter, as he continues to battle for the spot with Matthew Baldwin, it is largely assumed that he will be the one who earns the job by the time the regular season rolls around, and nothing Day has said has led people to believe anything to the contrary. Having been part of the recruiting process for Fields as well as watching his film from his limited playing time at Georgia, Day has now gotten the chance to get some one-on-one time with the sophomore QB this spring, who has impressed with his work ethic and ability to retain information.
While many have expected Fields to shine in practice, he is not the only fresh face that Day is excited to talk about, as he also made it a point of emphasis to shout out freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson. As a five-star recruit and No. 2 receiver in the 2019 class, Wilson has taken no time in showing off why he was so highly touted. When asked which young players outside Fields were stepping up this spring, Wilson was the first player Day recognized, stating his ability to make plays day in and day out down the field.
Day also talked up freshman running back Marcus Crowley, discussing how the early-enrollee knows what he is doing and is playing very fast. On the other side of the ball, defensive back Shaun Wade has been the star, according to Day. The sophomore has lined up at multiple positions, including safety and cornerback, making a lot of really big plays and having a good camp, according to the coach.
“We like to mix the different guys working with each other. We’re not in a rush to name starters. I don’t think that’s appropriate really until you get into the preseason. Competition is really good, because that drives guys to get better.”
As is true with Justin Fields and the QB position, Ohio State is not ready to name all of its starters so early in the offseason. With the spring game rapidly approaching, fans will get their first indications of which players have earned starting spots at which positions, with nothing officially set in stone according to Ryan Day. At this point, not a ton of Buckeyes own guaranteed spots at the top of the depth chart. With that being said, which positions should fans keep the closest eye on this weekend to determine which guys are leading the pack in their respective roles?
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker and safety will be two key spots to keep an eye on. With Tuf Borland sidelined with an injury, guys like Baron Browning, Teradja Mitchell and even Dallas Gant will have a chance to showcase their skillsets, with Malik Harrison the only guy in the group already likely owning a starting spot. At safety, Jordan Fuller (out with an injury) will be a starter, with Brendon White occupying the bullet hybrid position, but Josh Proctor will be a name to lookout for should Ohio State run with a traditional two deep safety look.
The offense has a lot more to unpack, outside of the obvious duel between Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin at QB. The offensive line is still not set in stone, with only Thayer Munford, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis holding down likely starting spots. Wide receivers and tight ends will be something to watch for, although starting jobs at those positions will likely be hard to come back as Ohio State will probably look to go by committee with deep talent at both positions. At running back, J.K. Dobbins is the clear starter, but the No. 2 is still a fight between Demario McCall, who has not practiced this spring, and freshman Marcus Crowley.
“The NFL revealed the names of the players who will attend the NFL draft, and the most noteworthy name missing was that of Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.”
Dwayne Haskins draft stock has been all over the board, with some projecting him to be the first QB selected in the 2019 NFL Draft and others saying he will be as low as the fourth signal caller taken. Regardless of when his name is called on draft night, Haskins will not be in attendance in Nashville, choosing instead to stay home and host his own NFL Draft party with friends and family in Maryland.
While some have speculated Haskins’ decision to not attend the NFL Draft was because of speculation toward his draft stock falling, Ryan Day told reporters on Wednesday that Haskins never had any intention of attending the event. The former Ohio State QB would rather receive the call from his new NFL team from the comfort of home.
Despite numerous potential first-round talents from Ohio State entering the pros this year, the only Buckeye who will be in attendance on draft night in Nick Bosa, who is a consensus top-three pick.