Ohio State has its quarterback for the 2019 season. It will be Justin Fields.
Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State last month has been granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA, allowing him to bypass the typical one-year waiting period before being eligible to play again following a transfer.
“I am happy for Justin and his family,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a released statement. “I also want to express my appreciation to the NCAA for its assistance in getting this matter resolved efficiently and with such a positive outcome for Justin.”
According to previous reports, the basis for the waiver filed by Fields was a racist slur hurled at him at Georgia by a baseball player (who has since been dismissed at Georgia) along with adjusted transfer rules focusing on transfers due to “mitigating circumstances” out of a player’s control.
This is a major victory for Day and Ohio State, as Fields will likely step right into the starting job after the departure to the NFL by Dwayne Haskins. Fields was previously a top recruit of the Georgia Bulldogs, and he brings tremendous potential as a quarterback. He will also have three years of eligibility as he gets started at Ohio State, which will go to use right away this fall. If Fields was not granted eligibility right away, the Buckeyes could have had a much more questionable quarterback situation this fall. That will no longer be the case.
What remains to be seen now is whether or not the NCAA will grant a former Ohio State quarterback a similar outcome. Tate Martell, who transferred to Miami shortly after Fields made his transfer to Columbus official, also applied for a waiver to be granted immediate eligibility with the Hurricanes. A decision for Martell is still pending.
Ryan Day may have to wait for one more game to really be Ohio State’s head coach, but the successor to soon-to-be-retired Urban Meyer is already working to put together his coaching staff in Columbus. On Saturday, Day’s first official staff decision was made with the removing of an interim tag for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline. Hartline was officially elevated to being the permanent wide receivers coach for Ohio State moving forward.
“Brian is a terrific young coach and mentor to our players and I am thrilled he is on our staff permanently now,” Day said in a released statement. “Brian was displaying outstanding leadership qualities when he was a quality control coach, and his efforts coaching the wide receivers this season are a huge reason we are Big Ten champions and headed to the Rose Bowl.”
Hartline joined the Ohio State coaching staff in 2017 as a quality control coach with the wide receivers. He was named interim wide receivers coach following the dismissal of former receivers coach Zach Smith this summer.
Ohio State wide receivers played a huge role for the Buckeyes this season en route to a Big Ten championship run that will take the team out west to play in the Rose Bowl next month. Ohio State receivers caught 291 passes for 4,211 yards and 43 touchdowns, fueling a run to being a Heisman Trophy finalist for quarterback Dwayne Haskins. All are new school records for receivers, which were led by Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and K.J. Hill. Freshman Chris Olave proved ready to step up in a big spot too with a breakout performance in the regular season finale against Michigan to clinch the Big Ten East Division.
Time will tell if Day feels a need to make any further staff changes once the season is complete and the Buckeyes officially move into the post-Meyer era under Day’s leadership.
Dwayne Haskins has long been slated as the top quarterback at Ohio State for the 2018 season, but today interim head coach Ryan Day made it officially official. Haskins will be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes when they open the 2018 season at home against Oregon State on Saturday.
Not that there was much of a chance Haskins wasn’t going to be the head coach, but Day did note there will be a plan to get quarterback Tate Martell some playing time.
Haskins had previously been suggested the top quarterback at Ohio State by head coach Urban Meyer in May and again in June before the start of training camp in Columbus. Meyer may be serving a three-game suspension to begin the season, but there was no reason to change things up in his absence as Day takes on the gameday coaching responsibilities for Ohio State to begin the season.
Haskins played in eight games as a freshman for Ohio State last year as the top backup to J.T. Barrett. In his eight appearances, Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 565 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Haskins also took off running 24 times for a gain of 86 yards and showed glimpses of being a good fit in the Ohio State offense that will likely be led with the running duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber.
The only question worth asking that won’t be given any official answer until we see it in person might be how short the leash will be for Haskins. If Haskins and Ohio State do run into a couple of rough spots and Martell is given a chance to change the pace of things, how ready might Martell be to being given his own chance to start. For now, there is no reason to suspect Haskins will have a small window to prove he deserves the starting job. And by the time Meyer returns from his suspension from the university, Haskins will have shown what he can do.
The larger focus in Columbus may be on the ongoing story revolving around head coach Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes still have work to do in camp at Ohio State. On Friday, interim head coach Ryan Day released a full rundown of each position group to update the media and fans on the current status of the team, with no mention of Meyer or the investigation expected to come to a close in the coming days.
Day shared his detailed practice update on Twitter.
If nothing else, Day’s first chance addressing the current status of the Buckeyes is a reminder that no matter what is happening off the field, there is still work to be done by the coaching staff and players as the new college football season quickly approaches. Meyer may not be able to have contact with the team, but Day’s job is to continue having the program move forward for as long as necessary. In the meantime, Ohio State has shut off media access to the program, including coaches and players, with the exception of brief glimpses at practices as training camp has been going on. Ohio State will allow more availability to watch practices this weekend as Ohio State brings training camp to a close for the summer. Regular practice schedules are scheduled to begin next week as Ohio State opens classes for the fall semester.
Day was named the interim head coach at Ohio State at the time Meyer was placed on administrative leave. Meyer remains out of action while the university conducts an investigation into the allegations connected to him from a report related to former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Smith reportedly spent hours interviewing with officials leading the Ohio State investigation earlier this week. Day has admitted to leaving Meyer in the dark regarding a previous OVI but has sided with Meyer in acknowledging that athletics director Gene Smith was aware of the allegations of domestic abuse connected to Smith that ignited much of this current situation.
With Ohio State’s 14-day timeline for this investigation coming near the expiration date, we may find out much more about the immediate future of Ohio State football and Meyer fairly soon.
After Ohio State placed head coach Urban Meyer on administrative leave, the program announced it was shutting off all media access to coaches and players until further notice as summer camp opened up. On Tuesday, access for cameras will be granted, but there will still be no interviews allowed.
Ohio State announced on Monday it will allow members of the media to observe a portion of camp practice scheduled for Tuesday.
“We are unable to comment on the details of the investigation into Coach Meyer being directed by the independent working group of the Board of Trustees,” a statement from the university’s athletics department said. “The university is committed to supporting our student-athletes as they prepare for the upcoming semester.
Ohio State announced Sunday night the investigation into Meyer and the entire case regarding the awareness of domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith is expected to wrap up in 14 days, and a decision by the university president will be made following a consultation with the Board of Regents. In the meantime, Ryan Day is serving as the interim head coach of the Buckeyes as summer camp practices continue.