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Ohio State: Justin Fields ‘hoping soon’ to get eligibility answer from NCAA

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Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is still waiting for word from the NCAA on his eligibility. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Ohio State: Justin Fields ‘hoping soon’ to get eligibility answer from NCAA

COLUMBUS — Justin Fields has a playbook to learn, teammates to get to know and some rougher weather to get used to at Ohio State.

So, the transfer quarterback doesn’t have a lot of time to spend stressing about an NCAA decision about his pending waiver for instant eligibility with the Buckeyes.

Certainly Fields and the program would both like an answer soon, and everybody involved is eventually expecting to receive good news for the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Ohio State. But in the meantime, Fields isn’t giving it as much thought as the rest of the college football world seems to be given his potential importance to a College Football Playoff contender.

“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.

“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.”

Justin Fields-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Justin Fields is keeping his attention on Ohio State, not his past at Georgia. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

That process is already underway for Fields, who enrolled in time to start this semester with the Buckeyes to begin participating in offseason workouts and diving into a new playbook after spending last year at Georgia.

There’s little time for him to spare if he intends to win the starting job with a looming position battle against redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin on tap next month in spring practice. And he can’t afford to waste any by seeking updates on his status that won’t help him develop any on the field.

“I’m not sure, really my focus is just on getting to know the guys better and kind of getting to know the system and just focusing on this upcoming season,” Fields said. “It’s going good, I think me and the guys are building a great relationship. Coach Day is a great guy, great coach. And Coach Mick, everybody in the weight room, they’re great coaches, so I’m definitely getting acclimated. I like it up here a lot.

“I really would rather not talk about why I left, I’d rather talk about this upcoming season and the upcoming goals that we have as a team to accomplish this year. I just don’t want to talk Georgia, I want to focus on Ohio State.”

There’s more than enough there to keep Justin Fields occupied as he gets started with the Buckeyes. So for now, that doesn’t leave room to think much about the huge question that’s still hanging over his head.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and the other six new arrivals for the program all chatted with the media on Wednesday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Video interviews will be updated in this post and on the Lettermen Row YouTube channel as they become available.

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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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