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.
How long will Ohio State QB battle last?
A couple days ago, Bud Elliott of Banner Society posed an interesting question: “What % of “qb battle still ongoing” or “QB hasn’t yet pulled ahead” headlines could be more accurately rewritten as “coach won’t name a starter until classes have started for fear of backup transferring”?”
I guess it stuck with me because while that’s almost always the case, it very obviously does not apply to Ohio State this year. With every quarterback on the roster having already transferred in, there’s next to no risk of a transfer. That’s especially true given that Justin Fields is an overwhelming favorite to win the job and Gunnar Hoak joined the team as a graduate transfer this summer with that knowledge in hand.
So with Ohio State not needing to string anyone along to protect the depth chart, what’s the holdup? Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward took a crack at that in the Monday question of the day.
There still isn’t a mystery about who is going to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State, even if Ryan Day still won’t name one after a week of training camp. Justin Fields is going to be the guy for the Buckeyes. For all of the understandable conversation about there being a competition at the spot, the value of sending a message that everything must be earned and the decent job Gunnar Hoak has done since arriving for his first practices with Ohio State, Fields is clearly going to be given the keys to the attack at some point.
Perhaps this is also a situation where Gunnar Hoak deserves more credit for keeping the competition alive rather than assigning any blame to Justin Fields. Clearly Ohio State doesn’t have any real worries about Fields or it wouldn’t be sending him out to the BTN set after practice, putting his picture on the front of the school website or letting him work almost exclusively with the first-team offense.
Ohio State still might not be ready to make it official. But nothing has changed when it comes to the eventual outcome, and the first week of camp shouldn’t be cause for any concern.
Tyler Baron planning Ohio State official visit
Ohio State continues to search for an additional defensive lineman or two in the Class of 2020, and one name that has consistently shown up in conversations is Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic 4-star defensive Tyler Baron. A 6-foot-5, 252-pounder ranked as the nation’s third-ranked strongside defensive end per the 247Sports.com composite rankings, Baron visited the Buckeyes in the spring and has remained in steady contact with their coaching staff since.
“I talk to [defensive line coach] Larry Johnson a couple of times a week,” Baron told Lettermen Row. “But I talk to Ryan Day every day.”
Considering those regular conversations with Johnson and Day, it’s reasonable to expect Ohio State to remain a top choice for Baron. He validated that assumption with his recently released list of his final five schools. Baron is planning a return to Ohio State in October, a trip that will be an official visit. And if his timeline is accurate, it’s set for just a few weeks ahead of his plans for issuing a commitment.
“I will officially visit Ohio State for the Michigan State game,” Baron said. “I’ll make a decision in late October. Ohio State has always been a school I’ve been interested in. How they produce defensive linemen it’s really something I’ve taken into consideration.”
For more on Ohio State recruiting, check out the Monday edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes.
Tate Martell loses Miami (Fla.) QB battle
Tate Martell will not be Miami (Fla.)’s starter when the Hurricanes open their season against Florida on Aug. 24 in Orlando. Instead, first-year coach Manny Diaz named redshirt freshman Jarren Williams the surprise winner of the quarterback battle that also included Martell and N’kosi Perry.
“All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff,” Diaz said. “We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination. As we move into preparation for the Florida game we will continue the competition to determine who will serve as the backup quarterback.”
Ohio State hoops releases non-conference schedule
Ohio State basketball released its non-conference schedule on Monday, and there’s a mix of quality opponents and … other teams. The Buckeyes open with Cincinnati at home and host Villanova in the third game of the season as a part of the Gavitt Games series pitting the Big Ten against the Big East. Ohio State will also take on North Carolina on the road and Kentucky and West Virginia in neutral-site matchups to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule.
In between those games, as you can see, there’s not too much to be excited about. Perhaps the one saving grace of the cupcake factory portion of the schedule is that the game against Kent State will be played in St. John Arena.
2019-20 Ohio State Non-Conference Schedule
30-Wed. Cedarville (Exh.)
10-Sun. UMass Lowell
13-Wed. Villanova (Gavitt Games)
22-Fri. Purdue Fort Wayne (Ohio State Classic)
25-Mon. Kent State (Ohio State Classic)
29-Fri. Morgan State
4-Wed. at North Carolina (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
17-Tues. Southeast Missouri State
21-Sat. vs. Kentucky (CBSSports Classic — Las Vegas, Nevada)
29-Sun. vs. West Virginia (Cleveland Classic — Cleveland, Ohio)
Jakob James appears on Birminology
Jakob James committed to Ohio State in January and set himself up to follow in the footsteps of a pair of family members who have previously suited up for the program. His uncle Dan was a member of the Buckeyes’ 1959 national championship team and went on to play seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His cousin Tim also played for Ohio State, suiting up for the Buckeyes in the mid-1980s under Earle Bruce.
Now it’s Jakob’s turn to prove once again that he belongs. His national ranking and 3-star status, a byproduct of national analysts never seeing him play at full-strength and current weight, drives him to put his best effort into what is a pivotal senior season for the Panthers star.
What else motivates Jakob James? What did Ryan Day do in his first visit to Elder High School that opened his eyes? Who is he recruiting now that he’s locked in with Ohio State? Has he fully recovered from an offseason shoulder issue that required surgery? Get the answers to those questions and more in this week’s edition of Birminology on Lettermen Row.
- Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic (season opener): 18 days
- Ohio State at Michigan: 109 days
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