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Scarlet Sunrise: Updating Ohio State quarterback battle as spring end nears

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Justin Fields is doing all the right things at Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Updating Ohio State quarterback battle as spring end nears

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.


Signs pointing to Justin Fields

The Tuesday question of the day was a popular one, with a reader asking about the legitimacy of the quarterback battle going on at Ohio State currently. The coaching staff has insisted on not crowning Fields off the bat, and with good reason. Not only is Matthew Baldwin talented, but also there’s no reason to tell him not to bother trying to chase down Fields.

With that being said, I think Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward hit the nail on the head with this portion of his answer: “There are signals that can be hard to ignore. Some are as obvious as Fields unleashing his dual-threat skills in an open practice on Student Appreciation Day, making plays with his legs that few quarterbacks have the ability to pull off as a rushing threat. And some are a bit more subtle, like Ohio State taking his Black Stripe off midway through his first spring camp — signifying that he’s ready to represent the Buckeyes.

“The Black Stripe tradition is undoubtedly cool for the program, but it isn’t a foolproof way to predict playing time or future success. And in that regard, it can be easy to get carried away by assigning too much significance to something that in the end is just recognition of a lot of hard work. But Ohio State also had to be aware of the message it would send when Fields in particular had his stripe taken off so quickly, and it adds to the perception that he’s getting up to speed and preparing to take hold of the starting job.

“The chance to make even more with the Buckeyes looks to be on the way. That doesn’t mean the competition isn’t real or that the depth isn’t solid for Ohio State, only that so far Justin Fields appears to be living up to the hype.”

I agree with pretty much all of that. Ohio State isn’t running a charity, but it’s clear who’s ahead. As long as Justin Fields shows up and produces, it’s going to be his spot.

Holy cow, Harry Miller

Obviously it’s no secret that a 5-star recruit is a talented player, but I think Ohio State fans are going to love Harry Miller after reading how he supplements that talent with a relentless work ethic. While in Nicaragua for mission work, Miller has been watching Ohio State practices and taking notes so that he can be prepared when he arrives in June.

Harry will be sent today’s practice tonight, and he’ll write questions down and say, ‘Hey what happened here?’” offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said. “I hope Harry isn’t doing that today since he’s down there [in Nicaragua] and it’s his birthday.

“Some kids get overwhelmed by it, but not Harry. He’s asking 20 questions, and then the next day he’s got 20 more and he’s the one calling me. It shows me the hunger he has, and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep fueling that.”

It’s very rare for offensive linemen to be big contributors as true freshmen, but it sounds like Miller might be the exception to that rule.

“Absolutely Harry can come in and compete right away,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Monday. “He’s very intelligent and he’s been spending a lot of time FaceTiming with Coach Stud, two or three times a week trying to pick up the offense. He’s still looking over his stuff — even when he’s in another country. He’s really been working hard in terms of lifting and getting himself physically ready with [strength coach] Mickey Marotti. So, yeah we expect him to come in here and play right away. That was part of the conversation in the recruiting process.”

Ben Christman visits Ohio State

Ben Christman, a class of 2021 prospect from Richfield (Ohio) Revere, earned a scholarship offer from Ohio State back in February. On Friday, Christman made his first visit to Columbus since the offer and came away impressed.

“It was great,” Christman told Lettermen Row. “Great to see them practice, and I was very impressed with how they prepare their players for life after football.

“It was my first time getting a really good look at what all of those things are,” he said of Real Life Wednesdays and the other post-football plans the Buckeyes deploy. “How they help student-athletes. It was awesome. I’d say that a lot of people wouldn’t know what the staff can do to help their players. It’s amazing.”

For more on Ohio State recruiting, check out the Tuesday edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes.

Nick Bosa rated McShay’s top prospect

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his annual NFL drafting player ratings by tier, and an Ohio State product led the way. Nick Bosa was the No. 1 player listed with a rating of 95, joining Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams as the only players listed in Tier 1. McShay described Tier 1 traits as the following: “Grades of 95 or higher. Elite prospects. Should be immediate NFL starters and project as perennial All-Pro players. Worthy of a top-five pick most years.

Here’s what McShay had to say about Bosa: “Defensive line is the strength of the draft class, so it’s no surprise that the only two top-tier prospects come from that unit. Bosa’s 95 grade matches those of Bradley Chubb and Myles Garrett in the past two years, and with good reason. He is an elite edge rusher with terrific power and instincts.”

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins was listed in Tier 3 (No. 13 player overall), one spot below former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

Counting down

  • Oho State spring game: 10 days
  • NFL Draft: 22 days

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and Landof10.com. He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.