Only two days of the Ohio State football team’s preseason training camp had passed before highlights of Justin Fields began trickling out from the practice fields at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Last Saturday, in the hours after the second practice had ended, the team’s official Twitter account shared a clip of Fields lofting a pass along the sideline in the direction of freshman receiver Garrett Wilson.
The ball dropped right in Wilson’s grasp, and the 16-second video ended with a glimpse of receivers coach Brian Hartline flashing a smile alongside Fields.
“The offense bringing the smiles,” read the tweet’s caption.
Snapshots of Fields’ performance on the field have been rare. Most of the practices are closed to reporters, limiting observations of the sophomore quarterback who is considered the favorite to start for the Buckeyes this season.
Some offensive linemen who met with reporters on Thursday offered their impressions after the first week of preseason camp. They had been paired with Fields during 11-on-11 periods of the practices.
His early showing went beyond arm talent or running ability, they said. Fields also flashed a ready demeanor.
“I want a leader,” said Josh Myers, a redshirt sophomore center. “Someone who is very vocal and clear and concise when he makes a call. When a quarterback comes up and makes a call, ‘No, that’s the call.’ You know what I mean? That’s what we're going with. Even if it’s wrong, that’s what we’re going with.
“As a center, I say ‘OK, let's do it.’ ”
The approach fit Fields. “He’s done a great job at this point,” Myers added.
Fields, who transferred from Georgia in January, had worked with a majority of the players since spring practice.
“One thing you learn about college real fast is respect is earned,” Myers said. “It’s not given. It’s something you have to earn for yourself when you get to a program, and he’s done a great job of that.”
Right guard Wyatt Davis offered a similar assessment of Fields, though acknowledged the other quarterbacks — Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak — who remain involved in the quarterback competition.
“All of our quarterbacks have been great working with them,” Davis said. “They've all been working hard each day. Justin has been doing great so far up to this point. We like the progressions we’re seeing from all our quarterbacks.”