Ohio State Isn't Alone in Its Search for a Starting Quarterback in 2018

By Johnny Ginter on March 11, 2018 at 11:40 am
Ohio State quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow

I'm not sure that I have a dog in the fight of trying to determine if Dwayne Haskins or Joe Burrow or Tate Martell should get the chance to be the primary signal caller for Ohio State in the 2018 campaign.

You know the comparative strengths and weaknesses for these guys; Haskins has a live arm and can stretch the field, Burrow is mobile and could run the offense much in the way J.T. Barrett did, and Tate Martell is an athletic freak who could be the next Johnny Manziel. Of course, Haskins could be inaccurate and inconsistent, Burrow might not be the leader or distributor that Barrett was, and Martell's size could prevent him from showing his athletic ability.

If there's anyone that I hope has the inside track on the starting job, it's probably Haskins, if only because I think that he'd force the coaching staff to make some long overdue changes to their offensive philosophy. But Burrow or Tate could also be the magic elixir that the Buckeyes need from the quarterback position through their ability to run the ball, so what the hell do I know?

And that's really the overall conundrum of a quarterback controversy. The position carries a huge weight, and therefore there's always an outsized amount of hand wringing over who will eventually get the starting spot. There is legitimate concern about the outcome of that battle in Columbus, but fear not, because as SI.com points out, Ohio State is certainly not alone.

They've identified 18 potential quarterback battles at major football programs across the nation, and while some are mere skirmishes (I highly doubt that Georgia's Jake Fromm is going to feel any real heat in the offseason), others are much more interesting.

For example:


Contenders: Jalen Hurts, junior; Tua Tagovailoa, sophomore

The seeds of one of the offseason’s most fascinating QB battles were planted at halftime of the national title game, when Alabama head coach Nick Saban decided to replace two-year starter Jalen Hurts with true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who provided the Crimson Tide the offensive spark they needed to force overtime and pull out a three-point win over Georgia. 

If you're rooting for even a small crack to appear in the armor of Nick Saban's Gregor Clegane-esque mountain of a dynasty, this is a potential fracture. Hurts is a quality athlete and appears to be a genial person, but so is J.T. Barrett and that didn't prevent 2015 from being a gigantic mess as Urban Meyer and company tried to figure out who to start: the person who ended up winning the national championship, or the guy who put in the lion's share of work to get them there.

Saban is probably going to be more decisive than Meyer was, and the Alabama fanbase will give whoever he picks more slack than the Ohio State fanbase would, but if either Tua or Jalen struggles, look out.


Contenders: Shawn Robinson, sophomore; Justin Rogers, true freshman

The second of Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill’s two seasons as TCU’s starter saw the Horned Frogs rebound from a 6–7 record in 2016 to post 11 wins and finish behind only College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings. To avoid another dip in ’18, the Horned Frogs will need one of two highly touted dual-threat quarterback recruits to prove, at minimum, a serviceable replacement for Hill in an offense featuring a prime breakout candidate at wide receiver (Jalen Reagor) plus a deep running back corps.

This is particularly interesting not just because TCU is an early season matchup, but because it sounds so incredibly familiar. It also emphasizes the need for positional depth on both sides of the ball, which Ohio State luckily was able to maintain in spades offensively, even with the departure of several key players.

If nothing else, it's nice to know that other teams (including, of course, the one team that we keep a wary eye on Beyond the Wall) are struggling with the same quarterbacking conundrum that Ohio State will grapple with in both the spring and summer.

I'm confident though, because if history tells us anything, Ohio State's advantage in both coaching and top to bottom talent will make sure that whatever choice they make could still be the correct one.

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