Dwayne Haskins flipped to Ohio State and its 2016 recruiting class just a couple of weeks ago, but the quarterback said that as he prepared to sign his national letter of intent this morning, it's not like he was joining a group of strangers.

Dwayne Haskins flipped to Ohio State and its 2016 recruiting class just a couple of weeks ago, but the quarterback said that as he prepared to sign his national letter of intent this morning, it's not like he was joining a group of strangers.

"I feel like a leader," said Haskins, ranked by Rivals.com as No. 5 among pro-style quarterbacks. "I knew a lot of these guys beforehand and have had a relationship with them in previous camps and things, so there already was a friendship built before I made the change."

He rescinded his longstanding commitment to Maryland after the school hired D.J. Durkin from Michigan as its coach in December. Haskins, despite being from Potomac, Md., reopened his recruitment and almost immediately leaned toward Ohio State.

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"I grew up as an Ohio State fan, going to their camps and stuff," Haskins said.

Staying closer to home was the lure that Maryland had dangled initially. In the meantime, Ohio State gained a commitment from quarterback Tristen Wallace of DeSoto, Texas. Wallace had second thoughts about playing quarterback in college and opted to decommit from Ohio State. Haskins stepped in.

"When you just say 'Ohio State,' you think of a lot of tradition, guys like Archie Griffin, Eddie George," Haskins said. "Really, every position at Ohio State has had some great success stories. And you think of Ohio State, you think of academics, of 100,000-plus watching you in the 'Shoe. So there is a lot that goes into it."

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After committing to Ohio State, he became a social media ambassador for the Buckeyes, even going so far as to incite Michigan fans in recent weeks. Along the way, Haskins also has proven his mettle as a player. He was named the most valuable player of the U.S. under-19 team after throwing for two touchdowns in a win over Canada at the International Bowl last week in Arlington, Texas.

"I think I do everything pretty well when it comes to short, medium and deep passing," said Haskins, who threw for 5,308 yards and 54 touchdowns in three seasons at Bullis School. "I think I have enough athleticism to make plays outside the pocket, but I choose to make plays from the pocket first."

ESPN recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree said of Haskins, "One thing people don't talk enough of when it comes to Dwayne is his great leadership skills. You talk to his teammates and his coaches at his high school and they gush about what a leader he is, how he does it by example on and off the field."

Now Haskins is ready to bring that to the Buckeyes as a part of a class that is in the top three of most recruiting services' rankings going into today.

"I think I've got a special group, I've got my receivers, I've got my linemen, and there are great players on defense," Haskins said. "I definitely think we've got a talented class."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports