Ohio State Feature Ryan Day has said he would ideally have Buckeyes having four scholarships quarterbacks at any given time.
Maintaining the number of scholarships quarterbacks becomes an increasingly difficult task.
Ohio State is currently down on just two scholarships quarterbacks for the 2019 season after Tate Martell transferred to Miami in January and Matthew Baldwin entered the transfer portal on Thursday, later confirming in a Twitter statement that he is leaving the program.
If you are an Ohio State fan, you might think, "What happens here?" Ohio State has now lost three scholarships for one-year transfers – Joe Burrow went to LSU as a graduated transfer after Dwayne Haskins beat him to start job last spring ̵
That said, frequent quarterback turnover is increasingly the new norm in college football, not just in Ohio State, but also on other major programs.
Clemson was down on only two quarterbacks who were recruited as fellow players when it was won in the national championship last season. Alabama lost his backup quarterback Jalen Hurts in a graduate transfer to Oklahoma, which added Hurts, but lost the quarterback who would have been his backup, Austin Kendall, who chose to transfer to West Virginia, even after Kyler Murray declared the NFL draft . Georgia is down to three scholarships quarterbacks, one of which was previously transferred from the program (Stetson Bennett) and one that turned from Ohio State on early signing day (Dwan Mathis), after losing Justin Fields to Ohio State.
Now that the transfer portal has made it easier than ever for university football players to transfer elsewhere and exemptions for immediate eligibility have become more common, it has become a regular event for backup quarterbacks to change schools to launch opportunities that might come before.
More examples from this offseason alone:
- Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant and TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson both transferred to Missouri
- Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who lost the start job last season to Ian Book, transferred to UCF
- Texas backup quarterbacks Shane Buechele and Cameron Rising transferred to SMU and Utah
- Texas A&M quarterback Nick Starkel transferred to Arkansas
- Penn State quarterback Tommy Stevens entered the transfer portal on Wednesday after Sean Clifford appeared as the front runner to start
In a position where only one player typically sees significant play time for each team, talented quarterbacks who think they can start at other schools can have more power than ever to figure out these opportunities and teams like Ohio State must now adjust accordingly.
Ohio State's current situation is particularly sharp because it now only has two scholarships quarterbacks, and one of these quarterbacks – Chris Chugunov – is a graduate transfer that was brought last summer with no expectations ever to become Buckeyes starts.
Buckeyes is in this situation because they have lost five quarterbacks that could have been on their roster this year, which is certainly a huge number, but only a few of these departures actually came as a surprise. Burrow is expected to transfer if he lost last spring's start quarter competition to Haskins, who quickly emerged as a candidate to enter this year's NFL draft with his game in the fall. Martell's departure was predictable after Field's arrival.
What really ruined Buckeye's quarterback depth for this season was Mathis & # 39; s last-minute flip that left them without any favorable opportunities for the recruitment of 2019 and Baldwin's departure, which comes as a surprise, even though Fields – which comes to Ohio State at the expense of Georgia's quarterback depth – frontrunner was starting at quarterback all the time.
Each of these players made their respective decisions for their own individual reasons, so their collective departures should not necessarily be seen as an indictment on Ohio State or Day – which, of course, was only Buckeyes & # 39; head coach for about four months. By luring Fields to come to Ohio State just a few weeks after being Buckeyes' main coach, Day showed that his program should continue to attract interest from some of the best quarterbacks in the country.
Buckeyes has a long-standing and unwavering commitment from Jack Miller, the 4-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2020, who is the first to become Ohio State's next start quarterback in 2021 when Fields will be eligible to enter the NFL draft.
If Fields and Miller both live up to their potential, Ohio State's start quarterback position can be in good hands for at least the next four years.
However, the day and Buckeyes have to do now is a way to navigate the new transmission-heavy climate at the quarterback position to maintain sufficient depth. Because while Fields has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in college football – and could prove worth the cumulative loss of Mathis, Martell and Baldwin – Buckeyes is now forced to put all their eggs in one basket, leaving them in a position where damage to fields would be disastrous.
For an example of how quarterback depth can make or break a season, you only have to look back to Ohio's 2014 season when Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett both went down with injuries, but Buckeyes still won a national championship with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones waiting in the wings.
However, it was already a rare scenario and it is probably an even more rare scenario now. College football teams can no longer count on talented backup quarterbacks waiting for their turn to potentially start in the future, but must prepare for the possibility that any quarterback who is not starting could choose to investigate immediately opportunities instead.