When four-star quarterback Emory Jones committed to Ohio State in July, Matthew Baldwin hadn’t yet started a high school game.
But when it’s time to sign on the dotted line Wednesday during the first-ever early signing period, it’ll be Baldwin’s name on the only letter of intent sent by a quarterback to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes moved on from Jones this week after his dalliances with other programs. Ohio State is content to have Baldwin, the latest in the Lake Travis High School quarterback pipeline out of Austin, Texas. Baldwin originally committed to Colorado State.
“They are very, very fortunate to have such an awesome young man coming to play quarterback at that university,” Lake Travis coach Hank Carter told The Dispatch. “He’s an incredible player. He comes from a great family. He’s an awesome teammate. He’s an incredible leader, and he throws the football as good as anybody in the country.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Baldwin has completed about 70 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,842 yards and 44 touchdowns for Lake Travis. The Cavaliers play for the Class 6A, Division I state title on Saturday.
Baldwin appeared on the national radar only recently, but Lake Travis’ coaches aren’t surprised by his success; it was simply a matter of biding his time. Baldwin is the seventh straight Lake Travis quarterback to sign with a Power Five conference team. Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma is among them.
“That’s something we thought would happen,” Carter said. “I’m not sure we predicted that within a seven- to eight-day period we’d have every coach in the top 25 on campus, but we knew he’d get interest from Power Five schools.”
Carter said he’s not exaggerating much. Alabama, LSU, Texas and TCU were among those courting Baldwin recently along with Ohio State, he said.
It’s been quite a rise for Baldwin. The Cavaliers had two freshman teams, and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Wall said that Baldwin was on the “B” team. He grew about 5 inches that year and then worked the next two years behind the scenes to become ready.
Baldwin’s breakthrough came last year when he replaced the injured Charlie Brewer — now starting at Baylor — and rallied Lake Travis to a double-overtime victory.
“We’ve known for a long time that he was a great player,” Carter said. “He just had another great player who was a year ahead of him.”
Though Baldwin is more of a pro-style passer, Carter and Wall believe he’s a good fit for Ohio State’s spread offense.
“He’s a deceptively good runner,” Wall said. “I kind of model our system after theirs. I think he’s going to do great there.”
Both raved about Baldwin off the field. Carter said he’s a 4.0 student whose first offers came from the Ivy League.
“He’s a joy to coach,” Carter said. “He was voted team captain by his peers and is just a great, unselfish young man.”
Buckeyes back off from Parsons
One player the Buckeyes won’t sign is five-star defensive end Micah Parsons from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ohio State’s relationship with Parsons cooled after he tweeted while on his official visit to OSU that the Buckeyes should have considered switching from J.T. Barrett to Dwayne Haskins Jr. during the Oklahoma loss.
But The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, reported Tuesday that OSU agreed to stop recruiting Parsons after it self-reported NCAA violations that occurred during his visit, specifically an encounter at the ESPN "College GameDay" set.
According to the report, obtained by The Dispatch, he met with former Buckeyes Kirk Herbstreit and Eddie George, which is permissible under NCAA rules. But he also posed for a picture on the set with two other prominent media analysts. NCAA rules prohibit contact with media members associated with former players. In addition, Parsons was allowed access to an area of the "GameDay" set not open to the general public, which is also a violation.
“The institution has declared the prospect ineligible and agrees to no longer recruit the prospect,” the report states.
Ed Terwilliger, the football recruiting assistant who accompanied Parsons on the campus tour, was suspended for one game and issued a letter of reprimand.