Just for kicks Friday at the Ohio State job fair for football players and other OSU athletes that coach Urban Meyer founded seven years ago, he should have put up a “future starting quarterback” booth and see who stepped in line.
But then, that would have been putting up a false front in the midst of at least 50 companies. Because although there is a line that includes sophomore Dwayne Haskins Jr., redshirt freshman Tate Martell and freshman Matthew Baldwin, there is no question about the No. 1 quarterback headed into preseason camp in six weeks.
“Dwayne is the starter,” Meyer said. “Then Tate is in full competition mode. Matt Baldwin is our three. He’s doing very well” coming back from knee surgery at the end of his senior season last year at Lake Travis High School outside Austin, Texas.
That was the order most observers expected after junior Joe Burrow opted to transfer a month ago to pursue the starting job at LSU.
“I talk to Joe still now, once a week,” Meyer said. “Joe did a lot for us; we did a lot for Joe. So it was very amicable, a good relationship. Anytime you have (something) new, there’s some discomfort involved.”
Meanwhile, based on a new rule from the NCAA, Baldwin and any other freshman could play in as many as four games in the coming season while keeping it as a redshirt season, meaning they would have four full seasons of eligibility remaining.
“It’s a good rule,” Meyer said. “It’s good most importantly for the student-athlete.”
He said he isn’t sure yet how he and his coaches will take advantage of it. Possibilities include playing some freshmen early to get them experience, or holding them back in case they are needed later in the season because of injuries.
“We had a 30-minute conversation about that" Friday, Meyer said.
His focus for the evening, though, was on the job fair as he watched his players interact with interviewers who included former Ohio State players such as Camren Williams, Adam Griffin, John Wooldridge and Tony Cupe.
“I had a vision; it’s exceeded my vision,” Meyer said of its seventh anniversary. “It all started when my daughters got recruited. It’s all about hope and opportunity.
“I think the next step is, I want us to do the best we can to get secure job offers on the table for players. That’s my goal next year. … The upper guys on my team deserve that. We’ve got some good ones.”
He could see the fair, organized by program coordinator Ryan Stamper and others, showing its layered dynamics.
“If you’re an established guy who’s got pretty good communication skills, it’s about networking, staying in touch and getting a job,” Meyer said. “For a young guy, it’s about learning how to communicate and get out of your comfort zone. Put on a shirt and tie, go present yourself.”