Piecing Together the 2014 Quarterback Puzzle

By Derek Young on March 7, 2013 at 5:00p

The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the nation's most talented teams at the quarterback position entering the 2013 regular season. Junior starter Braxton Miller is widely regarded as a front-runner for the Heisman trophy and if he progresses in the passing game this season, the sky is the limit for where the team can go offensively.

Can Urbz pull off the flip of Deshaun Watson?Deshaun Watson is a top QB target for 2014

Backing up Miller is Kenny Guiton. You might remember the 5th-year senior from his heroics against Purdue last season. The Texas native is more than capable of taking the reins if pressed into action.

Redshirt freshman Cardale Jones and true freshman JT Barrett are the other two at the position under scholarship. It is expected that Barrett will redshirt this upcoming season, as he continues to recover from an ACL tear suffered during his senior season of high school. Jones took a redshirt last year and the staff has liked what they've seen from the former Glenville star thus far.

With Guiton's impending departure, and Barrett and Jones being unproven, another top prospect will need to be added to the mix in 2014. Fear not, though, as recruiting is a strength of the Ohio State coaching staff, and they know the importance of bringing in a great signal caller.

Just how will Ohio State address the quarterback position during the 2014 recruiting cycle? Read about that and more after the jump. 

Five-star recruit Deshaun Watson is a highly sought-after commodity. Colleges near and far will continue to attempt to thrust themselves into the mix for the Gainesville (GA) product, who is rated as the nation's second-best dual-threat quarterback according to the 247 Composite.

Watson committed to Clemson over a year ago and has built a strong relationship with the Tigers' offensive coordinator, Chad Morris. If Morris does not leave the program, a signature from the nation's top signal caller will be tough to steal from Dabo Swinney and his staff. If any school can do it though, it may be Ohio State.

Watson has visited Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and Auburn since committing to the Tigers, but the star passer canceled a visit to Columbus in February for unknown reasons. Getting that visit back on schedule will be key, and without it there is no chance he wavers on his pledge to play at Death Valley.

Right now Watson is the only quarterback prospect with an OSU offer in hand, so Urban Meyer must think his chances are pretty good in landing the Peach State star.

After Watson, there are a handful of top prospects Tom Herman and Ohio State have a line on. Kyle Allen, William Ulmer, Drew Barker, DeShone Kizer, William Crest, Joey Duckworth, and Caleb Henderson all have reported some kind of interest from the Buckeyes thus far.

Kizer has offers from Alabama and LSU, but will Ohio State join the party? DeShone Kizer is the top QB in Ohio

Allen throws around the pigskin for Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is of the shorter variety, but has a strong arm and has remained in constant contact with OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman.

The four-star prospect is reporting 12 scholarship offers thus far that includes North Carolina, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, West Virginia, UCLA, Oklahoma State, and the in-state schools. Look for a camp visit to Columbus over the summer from Allen, as he has told me he is considering it in hopes of earning an offer from the Scarlet and Gray.

The nation's capital is home to a quarterback that has a very similar game to that of Braxton Miller. William Ulmer's elusiveness and open field moves have drawn comparisons to the Heisman candidate, but an offer has yet to come.

The St. John's College High School leader has visited Ohio State once, but will most likely have to throw again in front of the OSU coaching staff to earn an offer.

Barker is a well-known prospect and is a popular choice among many of the Buckeye faithful. Offers have come from everywhere for the Hebron (KY) recruit, with Kentucky and South Carolina appearing to be in the best position at this time.

Barker wants to make an earlier college decision so he can help mold the recruiting class he becomes a part of, making Ohio State an unlikely destination as of now. If the staff feels their chances of Watson are faltering though, look for them to quickly offer the four-star recruit, since he does have heavy interest in OSU. 

Toledo (OH) Central Catholic QB DeShone Kizer is arguably the top player in the state at his position in the 2014 class. What can't be argued is that he has the best offer list of all the prospects that play under center in Ohio.

In the last few weeks, Kizer has received scholarship offers from SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama. Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, Penn State, Rutgers, and Tennessee had already thrown their hat into the mix as well.

The Toledo native took part in the Friday Night Lights camp at Ohio State towards the end of July of last year and may have to return to camp at OSU to show the progress he has made in order to receive an offer from the Buckeyes. There is no questioning he is a great athlete, but he'll have to show he's made strides in both accuracy and power in the passing game.

Baltimore (MD) signal caller William Crest visited Columbus almost a year ago, but things have quieted down between him and the Buckeyes ever since. He claims an offer from the staff, but Crest is another that will have to throw in front of the staff to be given the "go-ahead" on a commitment. West Virginia and Maryland are other schools at the top of his list and they may reap the benefit of the OSU staff moving slowly on this one.

Duckworth is from Louisville (OH) and is competing with Kizer and Chris Durkin of Youngstown for top quarterback honors in Ohio. Duckworth threw the ball well in the Friday Night Lights camp in Columbus last July, and will need to blow the Ohio State coaches away again this summer to be offered because he does not exactly fit the dual-threat mold they are looking for. 

Henderson has admitted to being a huge Ohio State fan growing up, and has expressed his desire to play for a Big Ten squad. Having already offered a scholarship, Michigan State sits in the best position currently for his services at this moment.

Should the Buckeyes decide to throw their hat into the ring for Henderson, they will be very difficult to beat. The Burke (VA) Lake Braddock signal caller has told me a visit to OSU this spring is very possible as the staff continues to evaluate him. He is definitely a sleeper prospect to get the lone quarterback spot in the class.

My thoughts are that the Buckeyes are going to take their chances in pursuing Watson, but a secondary offer could go out after the camp period over the summer from someone that impressed them. I think it would come from a group of four in Ulmer, Kizer, Crest, and Henderson.

New names will almost certainly pop up as well with it being very early and a very fluid situation.


Comments Show All Comments

Citrus's picture

Cardale Jones seems to be a bit more of a passer. I think he is generally overlooked but could end up having a nice OSU career.

45buckshot's picture

i agree he seems to be being overlooked; obviously he's not the dynamic runner that Miller is, but with his size, i wonder if he couldn't turn into the kind of runner that Tebow was...

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

yankeescum's picture

I think that his arm is good enough that he may not have to run as much as old Tebow did.

cswig's picture

I'm glad the coaches are doing their due diligence and thoroughly evaluating top QB prospects. Urban could turn any of these young QBs into a stud. Remember the time he won a National Championship with Chris Leak?

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I actually felt like Leak was pretty underrated as a qb, dude could really throw.  He didn't fit the Meyer system that well but 88 tds to 42 ints really isn't that bad.

Earle's picture

Sorry, I have no memory of that.  My therapist thinks it is best that way.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Would love to have Buckeye QB from Toldeo! Even if he is from Central Public.
Come on down DeShone Kizer!
Watson would be a pretty solid steal though. At this point I kinda feel for Barker. Sounds like he has been hoping for an OSU offer for a long time now. Best of luck to all these kids...interested to see how this shakes out.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I'm with you. Kizer is my second choice behind Watson.  Feel like he has a high ceiling and I'm excited to see if he's improved this summer. 

Read my entire screen name....

45buckshot's picture

i keep hearing we're only going to take one QB, but it looks like a no-brainer to me that if they're going to keep pursuing Watson offer Kizer in case Watson never switches. 
Or Kizer might turn out to be better anyway ;)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Central Catholic, my alma mater, and Dane Sanzenbacher's alma mater...chief little dump. Don't insult my alma mater! 2012 Division II state champions. Your team must have lost to them last year, eh?

MediBuck's picture

Jones is also a bigger body. I don't know how tough he runs, but if he's willing to play a bit of a bruiser, he may be able to fit the "Tebow" mold.
For comparison:
- Jones: Height (6'5"), Weight (241lb), 40 Time (4.55-4.9)
- Tebow: Height (6'3"), Weight (235lb), 40 Time (4.6-4.7)
Sadly, Cardale is also similar to the Tebus in that his mechanics need a bit of work. Let's see how the spring goes for our young QBs...

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

gwalther's picture

Also, sadly, he may not have the same character: "we ain't come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS."

Class of 2008

sir rickithda3rd's picture

comparing jones to tebow is a little premature. the guy was one of the greatest college qbs of all time.

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Squirrel Master's picture

I would actually compare Cardale to Cam Newton more. Bigger, harder runner than Tebow and could probably have a better arm than Tebow. But very true that Jones has in no way the leadership quality of Tebow. 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

yankeescum's picture

I am probably the world's biggest Tebow hater, but there aren't many guys who ran harder than Tebow, the kid was so goddamn physical that no one could match him play after play for a whole game.  Newton was a much better runner, and more elusive and faster and bigger, and a better and more accurate passer, with a better IQ than Tebow, but in my opinion, not harder. 

Brutus The Champ's picture

Matt Ryan > Tebow ...even in college

Brutus is........The People's Champ!!!!

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

How many rings did Matt Ryan win?  Success in our society is based on titles...  Tebow is arguably the best college QB of all time if you're looking at winning. 

Colonel Quaritch's picture

If your looking at stats, yes Tebow is better. But from a QB view then Matt Ryan was better overall QB than Tebow IMO.

"The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me." 

steensn's picture

Ha! Ryan is hands down the better NFL QB, but Tebow ruled college football. Potentially best college QB ever.

Brutus The Champ's picture

teams win 'ships... but as far as pure talent, football IQ, and the ability to actually throw the football...... Matty owned tebow, even in college....
isn't it safe to say that tebow was a product of the 'system' and the athletes around him??

Brutus is........The People's Champ!!!!

45buckshot's picture

the system > tebow

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

45buckshot's picture

UM3 > tebow
and i could go on, but i don't want to get in trouble on this board ;)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

Squirrel Master's picture

Brutus, its not even close. You really should stop trying to compare Tebow in college to Matt Ryan. Tebow was by far the better college QB. Being a great college QB has nothing to do with ability to throw the ball at an NFL level. It has to do with leadership and winning games. Tebow just didn't manage the team with superior talent, he was the talent. He scored more than any other QB in a single season, running and throwing. He put the team on his back and took them beyond what they were even capable of. and no, he wasn't a product of the system, he is the system. He fit the position better than any other QB has, even Alex Smith. Now we all do hope that Brax will surpass Tebow in Urban's offense and I think he will, but he has a lot of ground to make up to do it.
no one will argue with you that Matt Ryan is the superior talent, but don't tell us that Matt Ryan was the better college QB because the numbers, the wins and the heisman trophy complete negates your argument. Tebow quite possible will go down as the greatest college QB ever! at least to this point!
if you put Matt Ryan in Urban's system, he wouldn't have done what Tebow did. It took Tebow to make that team the powerhouse it was. Don't let your view of Tebow in the NFL cloud the reality that he was a much better college QB.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Gametime's picture

Agreed. Ol' Johnny Football might have something to say about that if he progresses though!

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

ElGato69's picture

Tommy Frazier might have something to say about that... :-)

Jake in Cali's picture

After Watson, I'd like to see the staff pursue Ulmer. The kid has some serious wheels on him.

Squirrel Master's picture

I know it has been talked about on here a lot about losing out on getting Barker by continuing to fight to get Watson. To be honest, I really don't care.
Watson to me is the only QB that could come in and jump both Cardale and JT right from the beginning. Having both of them already on the team means that Urban doesn't need to settle for anyone except the best. If OSU ends up with Barker, awesome. If they don't, they will still take a decent QB. I don't think missing on the second best option would be that big of a deal. I really believe JT is the heir to Braxton, so why be concerned about needing a QB in this class. Only the best will be needed.
I hope they get Watson because he is that good, but if not I think they will end up with Henderson. Ulmer looks very close to the dynamic runner that Braxton is. I wouldn't mind him either. Kizer has huge potential. Not really sure about the others but if it really gets to that, I say no need. Use the spot for another position. but I think Henderson could be the nice developmental player behind JT that could be the complete dual threat QB. I like his tape and I keep saying that it adds so much more that he obviously really wants to come to OSU. Not that the other guys don't but I think he wants it much more. 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

yankeescum's picture

Ulmer Ulmer Ulmer!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I agree with this.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

iball's picture

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Alex's picture

No...would be surprised

weimerad's picture

So in the last paragraph, Derek mentioned that the next QB to get an offer could come from the group of Kizer, Ulmer, Crest and Henderson.  Is he referring to those QBs who are going to camp in June?  Because he didn't mention Barker or Allen being in the mix to get an offer.  I'm a little confused since I've always believed that Barker is #2 behind Watson. 

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Barrett will fill in after Braxton and win a heisman as long as Myers AND Herman are still around. He'll have the benefit of a seasoned system and the right athletes. 


BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Can we start referring to Barrett as JTB?