Blue-chip quarterback who decommitted from Texas looks promising for Ohio State

Bill Rabinowitz
Buckeye Xtra

Late Wednesday night, a recruiting development jolted the state of Texas and sent a shockwave into Ohio.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers, the top-rated player in the 2022 recruiting class by 247Sports.com, announced he was decommitting from his home-state Texas Longhorns.

Ewers said on Twitter that amid the pandemic he had “come to realize I didn’t explore all options as thoroughly as I would have liked. Therefore, I’ve decided to de-commit and reassess the situation before making such an important decision on my future.”

Quickly, 247Sports changed the crystal ball prediction by its seven experts to Ewers choosing Ohio State.

“I think Ohio State is the favorite because of the track record of quarterback development in addition to a strong relationship with Ryan Day and (quarterbacks coach) Corey Dennis,” 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong told The Dispatch. “I think he finds them to be guys he can have fun playing for while also maximizing his potential.”

The coaches battling for Ewers adds to the storyline. Texas’ head coach is former Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Ewers’ lead recruiter is Mike Yurcich, who was Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator last year before taking a hefty salary increase to join Herman.

Day made his name as a quarterbacks coach and remains highly involved with that position. His background has enabled the Buckeyes to stockpile blue-chip quarterbacks. Jack Miller and C.J. Stroud are freshmen this season. Five-star quarterback Kyle McCord from Philadelphia is committed for the 2021 class.

College coaches are not permitted by NCAA rules to speak about specific recruits. But asked Thursday how important it is to sign an elite quarterback in every class, Day replied, “That’s where it starts. At Ohio State, if you come to be the quarterback, you're the shortstop of the New York Yankees. That's what I was told when I got here, and I totally agree with it.

“If you have a quarterback, you've got a chance. If you don't, you don't. I'm going to try to go recruit the best players and develop that room into being the best in the country.”

Ewers is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior at Southlake Carroll High School. In three games this season, he has thrown for 937 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions and has completed just under 70 percent of his passes.

COVID's roster ramifications

The COVID-19 testing protocol for Saturday’s game against Penn State has made formulating the 74-player travel roster a challenge, Day said.

Because the game is at night, Ohio State’s final pregame coronavirus testing will be done Saturday morning instead of Friday. Day described that as “kind of terrifying” because there would be no time to get a replacement player to State College.

“We have to make hard decisions on and figure out how to have depth,” Day said. “Maybe there are times when you would have a few more in one position or you'd like to reward someone (with) going on the road. But really what this comes down to is flat numbers, because if somebody does test positive on Saturday, and your team is already in State College, you may have a depth issue.”

Day said the priority has been to ensure that the Buckeyes have “a pair and a spare” at each position, meaning a starter, a backup and another who can fill in if necessary. That puts a premium on versatility.

“We had to make some really hard decisions and project out the best we could. Everybody is dealing with it in the conference. We just have to handle it better than our opponents.”

Day upbeat about Olave 

Ohio State’s availability report won’t be released until Friday, but Day had encouraging words about wide receiver Chris Olave, who was knocked out of Saturday’s season opener against Nebraska.

“We put up the availability report, so we don't get too far into that,” Day said. “But he's had a good strong week of practice.”

Olave had six catches for 104 yards against the Cornhuskers.

Hurting for Cornhuskers

COVID-19 cases involving Wisconsin players and coach Paul Chryst forced cancellation of the Badgers’ game against Nebraska this week. Day said it reflects the fragility of this year’s season.

“I feel really awful for Paul and for his team and his staff and his players,” he said. “It's just such a contagious crazy virus and, and so, you know, certainly, our thoughts are with them, and then also with Nebraska.”

The Huskers tried to schedule a game with Tennessee-Chattanooga to replace Wisconsin, but the Big Ten reportedly nixed it.

“I'm very disappointed that they weren't able to play,” Day said.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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