If Tuesday was the official start of Dwayne Haskins Jr.’s time as the Ohio State quarterback, no one — including coach Urban Meyer — made a proclamation as such. But Joe Burrow did announce he was bowing out of the race.
Locked in a competition with Haskins through spring practice to replace four-year starter J.T. Barrett, Burrow wrote on social media Tuesday that he plans to transfer. Burrow graduated Sunday and can move to another school and play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
“After weeks of struggling with this decision, I have decided to leave Ohio State and explore other options,” Burrow wrote. “My teammates and coaches all know the love I feel for them. I will decide where I will play next year in the coming weeks.”
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Meyer offered no immediate reaction, either through the school or when sought for comment. But Haskins wrote on Twitter: “Good luck to you, brotha! Appreciate you for making me better, see you at the top.”
Burrow had been the backup to Barrett as a redshirt freshman in 2016, and he and Haskins had competed to be the backup in preseason last year before a broken bone in his throwing hand took Burrow out of the running. Haskins, however, always had something Burrow didn’t.
“That data point of what Dwayne did up in Ann Arbor,” said former Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson, an analyst for the Big Ten Network and WXZX radio in Columbus. “I think it’s tough to get by.”
He referred to the way Haskins replaced an injured Barrett late in the third quarter at Michigan with Ohio State trailing. He rallied the Buckeyes to their sixth straight win over the Wolverines.
“On top of that, Haskins’ talent speaks for itself,” Jackson said. “When you watch him throw the ball, he is a talent. I’m not sure Urban Meyer has ever had a quarterback quite like him, actually. … That’s why I thought he was the guy.”
That leaves the Buckeyes with Haskins, a third-year sophomore, redshirt freshman Tate Martell and true freshman Matthew Baldwin as the scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Baldwin, a 2018 signee and early enrollee, is coming off a knee injury suffered during Lake Travis High School’s run to the Texas Class 6A-Division I state title game.
Burrow, when contacted Tuesday, said getting to be the guy immediately will be at the top of his list for his next stop.
“Absolutely,” he said.
He also said he didn’t want to guess where he might land.
“I’m kind of just waiting for schools to contact me at this point,” Burrow said. “I figured more schools will come into it after I announced it. I’m just waiting to see what I have in the fold.”
Asked whether conversations with quarterbacks coach Ryan Day or Meyer after spring practice led to his move, Burrow said, “It was just my own decision. I’m not going to give you too much insight into it because it was kind of a personal decision.”
But it was a difficult decision.
“It was hard,” Burrow said. “But I just feel like this is the right decision for my future.”
Martell’s reaction was one of respect.
“This hurts to know you won’t be here anymore because you made everyone on our team a better person when you were around,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for being someone I could lean on during my struggles. The next school is going to be getting a special player!”
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