Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check-in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today’s question asks about the seemingly intentional decision to move away from dual-threat quarterbacks on the recruiting trail.
Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
We’ve seen what a mobile QB can do for the running game. So why does OSU continue to recruit pocket passers i.e. Matthew Baldwin, Jack Miller etc?
— Mike Honcho (@MikeHon06677900) October 14, 2019
Ohio State is recruiting the quarterbacks it believes puts the program in the best possible position to win a football game.
That’s the simple, black-and-white answer.
But in truth, it’s more complicated than that. Because when Ohio State and its coaches evaluate quarterbacks, there are a number of different traits and characteristics being measured. Of course mobility is one of them — it’s just not the piece of the puzzle that matters the most to Ohio State.
Ryan Day isn’t naive to what a moble quarterback can do for his offense. But he also saw Dwayne Haskins set the Big Ten record book on fire last season, so there’s no reason to think a true drop-back, pocket passer at quarterback can’t deliver for the Buckeyes offense in a different way. The reality is there are more important things to Ohio State than the ability to run as a quarterback.
“Each position has critical factors we’re looking for,” Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni said on the ‘Move the Sticks’ podcast in early September. “We try to get with each coach to see what they like and don’t like, and we also have just general athletic factors we’re looking for in all guys. Dealing with high school kids, we’re also looking at transcripts and character as well.’
Pantoni is, of course, the voice to really pay attention to when it comes to Buckeyes recruiting. And when he speaks, it’s basically scripture when it comes to what Ohio State is trying to do. He went a little further talking about the factors the program is looking for in a quarterback.
“I’m looking at accuracy and completion percentage,” Pantoni said. “Then, we’re also looking at competitors. We’re always checking to see what their high school record is. Do they lead their team to wins. Do they put their team on their backs?
“Then after that, arm strength is always good, but that’s kind of the second tier of things. So, we want to make sure they’re getting the ball to where it needs to go and they have a high success rate.”
Yes, Justin Fields is a fantastic athlete and a difference-maker when a play breaks down because of his ability to run the football. But if he wasn’t first an accurate passer who avoids turning the ball over, the athleticism may not matter.
In an ideal world, every single quarterback Ohio State recruited would be 6-foot-4, 220-pounds and be a top-tier passer who can also run a 4.5 in the 40-yard-dash. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes have to recruit real high school athletes and not created players in a video game, so they find the best combination of winning traits they can in each player they go after.
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