After Matthew Baldwin entered his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal on Thursday, the Buckeyes find themselves in a pinch at quarterback.
Justin Fields and Chris Chugunov are the only two scholarship passers left on the roster, which is two fewer than coach Ryan Day would like. The third quarterback right now is walk-on Danny Vanatsky.
Things may change soon, though. This late in the process, transfer quarterbacks are few and far between, but the Buckeyes have options, and one of them could be a new name added to the transfer list Tuesday, former Kentucky quarterback Gunnar Hoak.
Hoak, a Dublin native, announced his intention to transfer from Kentucky on Tuesday. A member of the 2016 recruiting class, Hoak was a three-star player who has two years of eligibility remaining.
He only appeared in five career games for the Wildcats, going 13 of 26 for 167 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Although he’s inexperienced, the local product Hoak makes a lot of sense for the Buckeyes to add.
But he isn’t the only name Ohio State will likely explore as it tries to beef up its depth chart.
There aren’t many experienced transfers available, and the quarterbacks available likely will want to play. The Buckeyes will probably have to pitch the program, Real Life Wednesdays, academics and the important role a backup could play in order to land a worthy quarterback.
Lettermen Row is breaking down who the Buckeyes might consider looking into this late in the process right here.
USC transfer Matt Fink
Another three-star recruit from the 2016 class, Matt Fink could be what the Buckeyes are looking for on the market. Fink spent the last two seasons at USC behind Sam Darnold and JT Daniels, so he opted to enter the transfer portal after the season.
Originally from southern California, Fink chose USC over Cal, Notre Dame, Washington and other west coast schools, but he rarely saw the field for the Trojans. In two seasons and seven games played, he completed 13 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
The problem: His inexperience and inability to win the starting job at USC could be a red flag for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. But he is graduating this summer and would be immediately eligible, so his time in a major program might be enough to make the Buckeyes look into him as an option at backup quarterback.
2019 recruit JP Andrade
JP Andrade, a 2019 three-star prospect from Bonita (La Verne, Calif.) High School, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound quarterback who threw for almost 10,000 yards in high school and had an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Florida.
The problem: Andrade only held offers from Fordham, South Alabama and Morehead State. If Ohio State offers him, which it hasn’t yet, the program would become Andrade’s first Power Five offer. He might not be worth giving up a scholarship for four years to land now, but with the current quarterback situation in Columbus, the Buckeyes might extend an offer in the coming weeks.
Penn State transfer Tommy Stevens
Tommy Stevens should be a familiar name for Ohio State. He’s been the backup to Trace McSorely at Penn State the last two seasons after getting beat out for the starting job in 2017.
Stevens had been at Penn State since arriving as an early enrollee in 2015, but the former three-star prospect could never find the field in a starting role, so he entered the transfer portal. He ended his career with the Nittany Lions completing 24 of 41 passes for 304 yards and four touchdown passes. He also rushed for 506 yards and eight touchdowns at Penn State, so his mobility could draw the Buckeyes in.
The problem: Stevens hasn’t gotten to play much at Penn State — and he is transferring to play. He won’t play over Justin Fields, so the Buckeyes would need to express just how important Real Life Wednesdays, academics and backup importance all are to them in order to lure Stevens to Columbus.
Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter
Carter’s a 6-foot-3 transfer from Texas Tech who is immediately eligible wherever he lands. Before his time at Texas Tech, he attended Tyler Junior College. He was a three-star prospect in the class of 2017 when he arrived with the Red Raiders. In nine games at Texas Tech, Carter 51-of-97 for 677 yards passing and four touchdowns, but he threw four interceptions as well.
The problem: Like Stevens, Carter transferred because of a log-jam at quarterback, and he wants to play, especially because he is immediately eligible. He’s another player the Buckeyes would have to sell the Real Life Wednesdays and academics to, because the chances of playing time would only come if Fields somehow got injured.
Florida State transfer Deondre Francois
This is a guy the Buckeyes will more than likely not look into due to the black cloud hovering around him. Francois, a former four-star recruit from Orlando, signed with Florida State in the 2015 recruiting class and had success in the ACC. Francois has 6,291 career passing yards with 36 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in 25 career games for the Seminoles.
The problem: He was kicked off the Florida State football team in February after a video surfaced in which he threatened his girlfriend. He has been in the transfer portal since.
There’s no denying Francois has the ability to play at a high level, but his off-the-field issues could be something that keeps the Buckeyes from even considering him. Ohio State’s programs away from football could be a good rehabilitation for the troubled quarterback, and his experience wouldn’t hurt to have on the roster.