It wasn’t a matter of if, it was only a matter of when. That became even more apparent after Justin Fields decide to become a Buckeye. Even after sending cryptic tweets on Twitter and comments on Instagram, everyone knew they had seen their last game and season of Dwayne Haskins in an Ohio State Buckeyes uniform. That when was answered Monday afternoon, when Haskins officially announced that he will forego his final two years of eligibility and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr🌹 (@dh_simba7) January 7, 2019
In case you didn’t appreciate his record-setting season this past fall and instead took it for granted, it’s a little too late now, at least to see Haskins donning the scarlet and gray. The gunslinger was much different than any quarterback we’ve seen at Ohio State in quite some time. Not in a bad way, but in his own way. He was a pass-first, run-second (or probably third or fourth) type of quarterback.
Following in the footsteps of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, and Cardale Jones, Haskins had plenty to live up to both on and off the field. In just one season as the full-time starting quarterback, he blew away not only Ohio State fans but all of college football. In a season full of high expectations as a team but filled with plenty of unknowns of what to expect from the most important position on a football field, Haskins threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns. He completed 70 percent of his passes (373-of-533) while also adding 122 yards and four touchdowns on the ground as well. Not known for his running ability, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound gunslinger was able to open up the offense with his scrambling ability when he needed it. When he didn’t he had the size, arm strength, and throwing ability to launch the ball wherever it needed to go on the field.
We got a glimpse of the quarterback he could be while he filled in for an injured J.T. Barrett during The Game in 2017, but no one could have seen this type of dominance coming in 2018. In just one season, he left quite a mark on the Buckeyes, a legacy and season that will likely never be forgotten. Then again, many in Buckeye Nation can dream of what could have been due to many believing that Haskins should have started over Barrett in 2017. But now is not the time or place to argue any of that.
Haskins may not have won the Heisman Trophy, but being able to attend the ceremony in New York City as one of three finalists is quite a special feat nonetheless. He was the first Buckeye to do so since Troy Smith took home the award in 2006. It was yet another accomplishment that Haskins has achieved this season, a season that has been filled with plenty of awards and record-breaking performances.
Let’s take a look at all the Big Ten and school records Haskins broke during his lone season leading the Buckeyes:
Projected by many to be QB1 in April’s draft, Haskins would be the first Ohio State quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1982, when Art Schlichter was the No. 4 overall pick. He would also be the first Big Ten quarterback drafted in the first round since Kerry Collins in 1995.
Dwayne Haskins will very likely be the first Big Ten QB taken in the 1st round of the NFL Draft since Kerry Collins in 1995. What a crazy list, from @pfref: https://t.co/AEAeQtXW6P. pic.twitter.com/oqdZGJ2Hdm
— Jacob L. Rosen (@JacobLRosen) January 7, 2019
Prior to 2018, the Cleveland Browns had been in search of a franchise quarterback since their return in 1999. With Baker Mayfield in the fold, it seems as though they found their guy. It just so happens that the first draft after finding their franchise quarterback, Ohio State not only has a legitimate NFL quarterback but one that is projected to be the first quarterback off the board in April. Figures.
With that said, Haskins has all the tools to be a legitimate franchise quarterback himself. Now we just have to wait and see not only how high he gets drafted, but who selects him. Whichever team does decide to draft him will likely have a fan base that will then include all of Buckeye Nation, along with their legitimate, franchise-changing quarterback.