Redshirt freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin has entered the NCAA transfer portal. Some like to point out simply by entering the portal it doesn’t mean a player is leaving. I firmly believe if a player enters the portal, he’s leaving. We all know Baldwin battled Justin Fields this spring for the starting quarterback job. We also know it looked like Fields had established himself firmly as the frontrunner despite head coach Ryan Day not yet naming a starter, and saying the competition would continue into fall camp. I’m sure most everyone feels Baldwin is doing this because he does not want to be a backup. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. According to Austin Ward of Letterman Row, people close to the situation say it is more of a want to be closer to home than any issues with playing time. No word yet on any possible destinations for Baldwin.
If you read my last blog you’ll remember I said to relax, enjoy the summer, and not worry too much about our favorite college football team because we’ll be doing enough of that during the season. Yeah, well, you have permission to worry a bit right now. Why the change of heart? Because with the impending departure of Baldwin, the Buckeyes are down to just two scholarship quarterbacks. TWO. They’ve lost FIVE quarterbacks from the program in the last year. Three to transfer; two to the NFL. Justin Fields and Chris Chugunov are the only quarterbacks on scholarship at this time. Walk-on Danny Vanatsky is the only other quarterback on the roster. Now you see why I say it’s ok to worry. Chugunov is a graduate transfer from WVU, and does have starting experience. In 2017 he started two games for the Mountaineers when Will Grier was injured. His numbers were respectable (43 of 90 for 536 yards with 3 touchdowns and two interceptions), but if Fields gets injured I don’t think Chugunov is the type of quarterback who can take the team to where they want to be. Without question the Buckeyes are in need of a graduate transfer to join the program.
The guys from Eleven Warriors did their usual excellent job of researching just who might be available to transfer to Ohio State, and have immediate eligibility. Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak may make the most sense of anyone. He’s from Dublin Coffman High School, and has family ties to Ohio State. He’ll earn his degree next month, but with two years of eligibility remaining, might look to play somewhere he can be an immediate starter. Alex Malzone of Miami-Ohio was the Redhawks’ backup last season. He spent two years at Michigan before transferring. He’s thrown just four passes in his four years of college football, and has one year of eligibility remaining. Matt Fink is another possibility. After three years at USC, he’s decided to move on. But, I’m guessing he wants to be an immediate starter. Help is coming in the 2020 recruiting class in the form of Jack Miller from Arizona; a top-5 pro-style quarterback. But, the Buckeyes need help with depth now. A lot of other possibilities are mentioned in the Eleven Warriors article. You can read it by clicking here.
I want to mention a couple of things I forgot in my last blog wrapping up spring practice.
Could enrollee freshman defensive end Noah Potter look anymore like Joey Bosa on the field wearing that #97? It’s almost uncanny. Hopefully the former Mentor Cardinal approaches the production of Bosa. The Buckeyes are loaded at defensive end, so it will be difficult for Potter to get much, if any, playing time this year. But, he did have a very productive Spring Game. He gave redshirt freshman tackle Max Wray fits throughout the game.
You want a sleeper for playing time at defensive end? Redshirt freshman Javontae Jean-Baptiste is almost freakishly athletic, drew rave reviews for his scout team work last season, and made his presence felt at the Spring Game. The drawback is he’s only 245 pounds, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him used in special packages as the season progresses.
The Buckeyes received their Big Ten Championship rings recently. It also pays tribute to the team’s win over Michigan, and it’s Rose Bowl victory over Washington.
The Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL’s record-setting best regular season team, for their first-ever playoff series win. The Pittsburgh Penguins were swept by the New York Islanders. I’ll just leave that there for y’all to chew on.