On Friday, less than four months after he arrived at Ohio State, freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers entered his name into the transfer portal.
It was an unsurprising end to an experiment that saw Ewers, the top-rated prospect in the country, reclassify from the 2022 recruiting cycle and enroll early in order to profit from his name, image and likeness.
Ewers never truly competed to be the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback this fall, as redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud had already separated himself from classmate Jack Miller and true freshman Kyle McCord by the time Ewers arrived on campus in mid-August.
And with Stroud – the Big Ten’s offensive player, quarterback and freshman of the year and likely finalist for the Heisman Trophy – now firmly entrenched as the starter for at least one more season, Ewers ultimately decided it was in his best interest to continue his college career elsewhere.
“I think he was in a very unique situation, for sure,” head coach Ryan Day said on Sunday. “We wish him nothing but the best of luck moving forward. But, boy, there’s a lot of stuff going on right now in college football with a lot of this stuff, whether it’s early enrollees, the transfer portal and those types of things.
“We’re just going to do the best we can to try to adapt as time moves on, but we certainly wish him nothing but the best of luck.”
Day knew from the beginning how difficult it would be to manage four highly recruited quarterbacks in one room and that attrition would eventually happen. But that didn’t make Ewers’ departure – which followed Miller’s earlier in the week – any easier.
“I’d rather not get into too many of the details, but it kind of caught me a little bit off guard, for sure,” Day said. “You try to do the best you can on the front end of explaining exactly what is going to happen and then do the best you can and communicating and follow through with it. But things change and you have to adapt.”
Assuming McCord remains in Columbus – and sources close the program expect him to do just that – the Buckeyes will have at least three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster next season, including 2022 four-star commit Devin Brown.
Day has previously said he would like to have four scholarship players at the position in any given year, so Ohio State could conceivably add another through the transfer portal in the coming months. That’s not a given, though.
“It’s not always that easy, as you remember when Dwayne (Haskins) was here and when Justin (Fields) was here, some of those years, we had two, sometimes three,” Day said. “A lot of guys want to play, and I get it. We’ll just try to do the best we can to forecast it, but we feel really good about the guys we have on our roster now.
“When you look at the landscape of college football the last year or two, it’s really changed. It’s continuing to change. There are a lot of dynamics at play – roster management, recruiting, portal – as we move forward, we’re just trying to navigate what that looks like on a yearly basis.
“When you look at the number of people who are going into the portal and going to other schools, it’s significant. We have to adapt and we’ll keep identifying and evaluating and figuring out what’s best for us.”
Ewers, on the other hand, is reportedly considering the likes of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, all of which are within five hours of where he played his high school ball at Southlake (Texas) Carroll.
He’ll have four years of eligibility remaining after appearing in just one game this fall, handing the ball off twice in the blowout win over Michigan State on Nov. 20.
“I just think there have been so many changes so fast that we need to take a deep breath and figure out what the consequences are for all of these decisions before we make more changes,” Day said. “There’s just been so many things that have happened in college football here, and we’re still trying to sort through what all that means.
“It’s going to probably be a little while before we sort through it all. We’re going to see different things come our way and we’re going to have to try to do the best we can to adapt to it.”
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