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Heisman race: Dwayne Haskins keeping tabs, in touch with Tua Tagovailoa

Ohio State-Dwayne Haskins-Buckeyes-Heisman-Tua Tagovailoa-Heisman Trophy
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is second behind only Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa in the Heisman Trophy race. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Heisman race: Dwayne Haskins keeping tabs, in touch with Tua Tagovailoa

COLUMBUS — Dwayne Haskins is fully aware of the Heisman Trophy hype, and the Ohio State quarterback knows exactly who his primary competition for the coveted award is at this point.

In fact, he’s communicating with him every week.

Having known each other since throwing together on the high-school recruiting circuit, Haskins and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa have developed into two of the most prolific passers in the country. And in the process, they’re turning a friendly rivalry into a high-stakes Heisman race while leading two programs that could be on a collision course to settle it on the field in the College Football Playoff.

“We talk every week,” Haskins said after practice on Tuesday. “We did Elite 11 and all that stuff in high school, so we sent each other scriptures before the game on Saturday just to send out blessings to each other. He did a great job last week.

“He’s an accurate guy, brings a lot to his offense, really upbeat, well-spirited guy and I admire his game. [Last week] I was like, ‘How do you go 10-for-13 for 300 yards?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s pretty cool, I wish I could do that in one of these games this year.”

Haskins, of course, is having no problem putting up eye-popping statistics of his own. The rocket-armed Ohio State passer is coming off a six-touchdown outing in a win over Indiana that earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in just the sixth start of his career.

The ease with which Haskins has been rewriting the record books at Ohio State so quickly after finally taking over the offense has seen him shoot up the list of leading Heisman candidates, currently sitting in second behind only Tua Tagovailoa. And as the conversation has grown louder, it’s becoming practically impossible for the leader of the Buckeyes to ignore it.

“I don’t think I’m paying attention to it, but it’s more so that I’m aware of it,” Haskins said. “It’s not my main focus right now, because my main focus is getting better every day so I can be in that conversation for the rest of the season. I’m just focusing on getting better every day.

“Definitely, it’s just a credit to the hard work we do together as a team and that I did in the offseason, and it’s just a blessing to be considered with those guys, because they’re really great quarterbacks. We’re all pretty cool with each other, so we’re competing every week.”

And at the rate they’re both going, the two guys might have a chance to catch up in person at the Heisman ceremony — and then maybe square off with a national title on the line.

Dwayne Haskins had plenty of company during media availability after practice for Ohio State on Tuesday. In addition to the Buckeyes quarterback, offensive coordinator Ryan Day, cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson, wide receivers Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon, cornerback Damon Arnette and linebackers Tuf Borland and Pete Werner all previewed the Minnesota game and looked back at the win over Indiana. Full video interviews are available here and at the Lettermen Row YouTube channel.

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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