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Justin Fields: What transfer quarterback brings to Ohio State

Justin Fields is cleared and ready for action at Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Justin Fields: What transfer quarterback brings to Ohio State

COLUMBUS — Justin Fields has already been hard at work at Ohio State.

Now there’s officially an immediate purpose for the highest-ranked recruit to ever join the Buckeyes.

Fields has been approved by the NCAA for instant eligibility with the program, getting word on Friday that he won’t have to sit out for a season after transferring from Georgia. There is really no way to understate the importance of the addition for Fields for the two-time defending Big Ten champions as the Buckeyes try to replace Dwayne Haskins at the most important position on the field, even if he still has to go out and earn the job this spring in a battle against Matthew Baldwin.

Fields will likely be the favorite given his reputation, skill set and even a bit of big-time experience in the SEC. But leading up to the huge decision, the new addition for the Buckeyes was focusing solely on learning the playbook, getting to know his teammates, diving into the offseason conditioning program — and ignoring all the speculation about his future.

“I mean, I don’t really know much about this process,” Fields said in his first public comments with the Buckeyes on Wednesday morning. “All that lawyer stuff, my job is strictly football. All this NCAA stuff, I really don’t have a great understanding of it. I’m just here to make this team better. I’d rather not have to deal with it, and I’m doing what I have to do to get eligible, but my main focus is the season.

Justin Fields-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Justin Fields arrives at Ohio State as the most decorated recruit in program history. (Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

“Growing up, I’ve always learned to control the controllable. I know I can’t control what the NCAA decides, so my focus is just on this team and getting better. I mean, I don’t really know anything — but I do hope I’m eligible this year to play. So, we’ll just see what happens. I’m hoping soon so we can get all this over with and just focus on this team and getting better.”

Now that the matter has been resolved, Fields can move forward knowing that he’ll be able to play an active role for the Buckeyes this season.

How prominent will it be? What can the touted passer bring to the offense for the Buckeyes? Where is the ceiling for a player with his physical tools? Former Ohio State quarterback and national champion Cardale Jones popped in the tape at Lettermen Row for a BuckIQ episode looking at everything Justin Fields will bring to the program.

Now, he’s officially part of it with no restrictions this season.

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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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