When Justin Fields announced his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State on January 4th, fans of the Buckeyes could be forgiven for thinking their quarterback needs had been addressed and their squad was back in the playoff race. Fields was the number two recruit in his class, second only to Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. The quarterback has unique athletic talents, incredible playmaking ability and is a perfect fit for the Ryan Day offense. Fields was a high upside addition to a squad that is trying to limit the loss of both its head coach and starting quarterback.
Since being granted an eligibility waiver on February 8th, the hype around Fields has only increased. Not only was he expected to waltz into the starting role with his new squad, Fields was quickly installed as the third favourite in the Heisman Trophy Race. It is clear that the college football world not only expects Fields to perform, they expect him to be one of the best players in the game next season. It’s a big ask for someone that hasn’t yet made a career start at the college level.
A C+ Performance?
In Ohio State’s spring game last weekend Fields had a mixed afternoon. His passing stats of 4-of-13 for 131 yards and a touchdown don’t jump positively off the page for a reader. However, Fields one touchdown throw came on a 98 yard pass to Binjimen Victor. The throw was incredibly pretty, with perfect ball placement and great arm strength.
Fields wasn’t shy when asked about his performance, stating “If I had to grade myself out today, it would be like a C+,” Fields said. “I know I can be better, I’ve done better at practice, but of course there’s always room to improve, so I’m just gonna continue to work.” This kind of personality is what has been earning him rave reviews in Columbus so far.
“I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface,”Justin Fields
A QB Competition in Columbus?
“Justin, he can kind of create on the edge a little bit, so didn’t get a chance to see that as much. You know I thought Matthew made a couple really nice throws down the field,” Day said. “We’ll keep looking at it, but I thought both of them had positive days.”Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day
Ohio State’s newly installed Head Coach Ryan Day wouldn’t commit to installing Fields as his starter. Instead opening the position up to a competition between Fields and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin who completed 20 passes for over 240 yards in the spring game. Expectations remain that this is a competition that Fields will win. He is a better fit for the Day offense and has the higher upside. However the first year head coach will be happy to have multiple talents at the most important position.
If Fields doesn’t line up under centre for Ohio State week one I will be very surprised; he has the highest upside and best skillset for running this Ohio State system. However, I’m yet to be convinced that he is worthy of Heisman hype in 2019. What the season holds, only time will tell…
Image – The Lantern