Before we dive too far into the story of Potomac, Maryland 2016 Dwayne Haskins, Jr., it's important that we slap a big fat disclaimer on it. There are fewer things in recruiting more overblown than the concept of a "dream school." Every player in the country grew up loving someone, dreaming of running out of some tunnel and wearing some uniform. Everyone has a dream when they're a kid. I wanted to be president of the United States. Dreams change, even when you become eligible to make them come true. Situations arise that force us to reconsider whether our dreams would actually be good for us.
Haskins will have to make that decision, because his dream was to play football at The Ohio State University, as evidenced by this pretty awesome video.
That video is one possible reason that Haskins' 247Sports.com "Crystal Ball" is currently showing 100-percent Ohio State. Haskins says that despite a longterm affinity for the Buckeyes, he's got everyone even on his current — and constantly expanding — list.
"Yeah, it's going to be hard. I fell in love with Ohio State when I was younger, as you can see in the video, but I am older now and I realize there are other great places out there that can maximize my opportunities," Haskins told Eleven Warriors about separating his dreams as a kid from his opportunities now. "I mean, I have all the same values as I did then, looking for academics and athletics and all that stuff. I want to go where I feel most comfortable, not just with the staff and people (at the school), but personally."
As of now, the 6-foot-2, 185 pound Haskins says there are not any schools standing out in that department. That's understandable, when you consider how much the last month has changed the landscape of his recruitment.
"I'm living the dream. A month ago I had no offers," he said, admitting things have become a bit hectic. "I've got 19 now, and I've got my parents to help me with most of it. It's humbling. I'm looking at all the schools who are giving me the opportunity to get an education and to help take their program to the next level."
One of the reasons Haskins' interest has spiked recently as his performance during the Rivals Camp Series in Washington, D.C. The Bullis School product was named the MVP at the quarterback position. It's that success during camps which has garnered him national attention, but college coaches are seeing more than just a flash in the pan.
“Whenever you go, it's game mode.”– Dwayne Haskins, Jr.
Ohio State is one school that saw his potential early, and they're hoping to turn his childhood dream into his next stop on the path to football stardom.
"I've talked with (Urban) Meyer twice, he's a pretty cool guy, and I talk to him and (Larry) Johnson the most," Haskins said of his developing relationship with the Buckeyes. "To be quite honest, I am not quite comfortable with any staff yet. I like a lot of them but no one has given me 'that feeling' yet. I need more time with people to find that."
Meyer and the Buckeyes, like other schools, see a big, strong-armed quarterback who can lead a variety of offensive sets. Still, Haskins said the Buckeyes have noticed something others haven't.
"Ohio State likes the way I throw the football, like other schools do," he said. "They have mentioned my accuracy and other attributes in the pocket. They see my leadership."
Haskins has not been back to Ohio State since the now famous video was filmed, but he says that is something he'll remedy soon.
"I'm most likely visiting (Ohio State) at the end of the month, I was thinking about going to the NFTC and Elite up there," he said of the timing for a visit. "I had already attended a camp down here, but I have to see if I could make it both days. I'll visit Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, LSU and West Virginia this summer; all except LSU have offered. I have a few more offers that are close by that I could visit anytime."
As a 2016 quarterback, Haskins is aware that Ohio State has already secured a commitment in 2017 from Massillon (Ohio) quarterback Danny Clark. He says that isn't something he'll concern himself with. He also has a timeline in mind for a decision, knowing how important it is for a recruiting class to have a quarterback leader.
"I want to make a decision after my junior year," Haskins said. "If I were to go to Ohio State, I'd be (ahead of Clark), so I am not worried about that.