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Ohio State Buckeyes: Quinn Ewers commitment adds to impressive string of QB recruits

Dayton Daily News logo Dayton Daily News 11/20/2020 Marcus Hartman

Ohio State football scored another win for the future this week with the verbal commitment of quarterback Quinn Ewers.

A five-star prospect from Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, Ewers is the top-rated quarterback prospect in the Class of 2022 and the No. 2 player overall in 247Sports Composite rankings.

QB carousel keeps turning for Ohio State

Adding the former University of Texas commit strengthened Ohio State’s grip on the No. 1 spot among recruiting classes for 2022 and adds to an impressive run of recruiting at the game’s most important position.

Coach Ryan Day already has a commitment from a five-star quarterback in the current senior class — Kyle McCord of Philadelphia St. Joseph’s — after signing a pair of four-star prospects in the class of 2020 in C.J. Stroud of Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) and Jack Miller of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparrel.

“Well no, not really,” Day said earlier this season when asked if he was worried about negative consequences of signing too many top quarterbacks in a short period of time.

The implication was stacking so many talented players on top of each other at one position could have diminishing returns if it leads to a mass exodus later.

That is because highly regarded quarterback recruits transferring if they don’t play early has become increasingly common, a trend Ohio State benefited from in picking up current starter Justin Fields from Georgia.

The Buckeyes have also had quarterbacks Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin transfer out since the beginning of 2019 and brought in Kentucky transfer Gunnar Hoak.

Martell was a composite four-star prospect in the class of 2017 while Baldwin was a four-star the following year.

In 2018, Ohio State saw Joe Burrow transfer to LSU upon not winning a spring competition with Dwayne Haskins. They had both been four-star recruits in high school.

“Like we always say, you come to Ohio State to compete,” said Day, who was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2017 and ’18 before replacing Urban Meyer as head coach last year. “And if you don’t want to compete, this probably isn’t the right place for you..

“So if a quarterback’s coming here, they’re coming here to be in the Heisman Trophy conversation, to win a national championship and be a first-round draft pick. So if they can’t beat out the guy who’s here, how are they going to go become a Heisman Trophy winner and a first round draft pick? It’s all about competing, and I get it. You know, guys want to play. Maybe Ohio State’s not for everybody, but the guys who come here, they want to be great. They want to compete. They love Ohio State. They understand what they’re getting themselves into, and they come here to compete.”

Day talks quarterback recruiting and more

Quarterback depth, even if it is more elusive in today’s college football, remains important.

Ohio State provided perhaps the best reminder of that in 2014 when the Buckeyes went through three quarterbacks on the way to the national title. Four-star J.T. Barrett replaced an injured five-star Braxton Miller in the preseason, and three-star Cardale Jones stepped in for an injured Barrett in the postseason.

“You just never know how it’s gonna shake out,” Day said. “The other part of it is you get a chance to develop here in what I think is the best offense in the country. And you’re learning about drop-back passing. You’re learning about progressions. You’re learning about protections and all those type of things, and I think that’s one of the big reasons why these guys love being here as a quarterback.”

Day also rejected the idea of needing to recruit a player intended to be a backup — essentially trading raw ability for added stability in the event of another exodus of highly rated recruits to the NFL or other schools.

“I totally have thought about it, totally have talked about it, but if someone’s coming here to be the backup, they’re probably not gonna make it anyways because of what we just talked about. You know, I’m saying?” Day said. “If they’re coming here, they’re coming here to play. And we want guys who want to play, and so I know what you’re saying. It makes sense. It’s just not realistic that I can find. But it’s always a concern because only one quarterback plays.”

Since Centerville star Kirk Herbstreit became then-first-year coach John Cooper’s first Ohio State recruit in 1988, 13 of 35 Buckeye quarterback signees have transferred out.

Eleven became full-year starters, and only five stayed through the end of their eligibility if they were not the starter heading into their senior year.

The latter has become increasingly rare as Kenny Guiton (Class of 2009) and Justin Zwick (’02) are the only ones of the group to sign since 2000.

(That does not include Stroud or Miller, since they just arrived, or Fields, since he was a transfer.)

“At Ohio State if you come to play quarterback, you’re the shortstop for the New York Yankees,” Day said. “That’s what I was told when I got here, and I believe it. It starts right there. If you have a quarterback, you’ve got a chance. If you don’t, you don’t.

“So I’m going to try to get the best players to develop that room into being the best in the country. It’s still early in the process, but that’s the goal.”

If he signs when eligible next December, Ewers will be the fourth Ohio State quarterback recruit from Texas in the past 14 years, joining Guiton (Houston Eisenhower), Barrett (Wichita Falls Rider) and Baldwin (Lake Travis).

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