COLUMBUS — Matthew Baldwin says that leaving Ohio State wasn’t an easy decision to make, but one that he feels is going to be in his best interest long term. That’s why he’s decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal.
In a statement Baldwin provided to Lettermen Row, and another made via his Twitter account, the redshirt freshman quarterback opened up about the difficult decision to leave the school he picked when he left Texas powerhouse Lake Travis High School.
“I want to start by saying I am grateful for my time in Columbus,” Baldwin wrote. “And the relationships formed here at Ohio State.”
After sitting during his true freshman season to rehabilitate a torn ACL, Baldwin competed throughout the spring with transfer addition Justin Fields for the Buckeyes starting quarterback job but was struggling to feel comfortable so far away from home.
“This spring was huge for me,” he wrote. “To finally get back on the field after my ACL tear. It felt really great being in the mix of things and taking snaps again. Being able to play in front of 75,000 of the greatest fans in the country was beyond exciting. I loved getting to know Justin and competing with him was an incredible experience for me. I was really proud of what I did and am excited about my progress.
At the same time, spring was a tough time for me personally. My family and I have prayed and talked a lot about where I belong and what is best for me. In the end, we feel it’d be better for me to step away from Ohio State. I want everyone to know this isn’t out of anger or frustration, but I’m not just a football player. While I’m so grateful for the experiences I have had here, it’s time for me to find a place that I feel is a perfect fit. I want to find a place to call home where I can thrive as a football player and student.”
Baldwin also wanted to be clear that he holds the utmost respect for Ryan Day, the main who recruited him at Lake Travis while he was committed to Colorado State.
“I want to emphasize the love and respect I have for the entire Ohio State coaching staff and my incredible teammates,” he said. “Especially, I want to Coach Day for his guidance over the past year and for the belief he had in me from the start. He is an amazing coach and an incredible person. He will do incredible things at Ohio State. I also want to thank the strength coaches, who work with us every day.”
Lastly, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Baldwin wanted to address the doctors that helped him get back into playing condition following the devastating knee injury he suffered on the first play of his final high school game.
“Finally, I want to thank Adam Stewart and the entire physical therapy and training staff for helping me bounce back. Stew is the best in the business and has been such an important person in my life this year. I will never forget what he did for me in what was a very difficult time.
“Thank you Buckeye Nation for all the memories and support. I appreciate what this experience has taught me and consider my time here a blessing. I’m looking forward to my next step in life and I wish the best for each of you.”
Ohio State is now down to two scholarship quarterbacks for the 2019 season and will begin looking in earnest for someone to help fill the void left by Baldwin’s departure.