MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Quinn Ewers can think back to many, many memories from his days as a youngster in Texas of watching the Longhorns and imagining himself in burnt orange. He still tells those stories with a smile on his face. There’s the time, he recounts, as his dad was elk hunting, he and his mom caught the famous Vince Young-Reggie Bush Rose Bowl while he played with toys on the ground in front of the television.
As he puts it, he “grew up loving and watching” the Texas Longhorns.
The same can’t be said about Ohio State.
Ewers, much like Justin Fields before him, has no homegrown connections to the Buckeyes. Like Fields, he isn’t from the region, let alone the state, and didn’t spend his youth hating everything maize and blue and cheering those in scarlet and gray every Saturday. Also like Fields, he decided he had to leave his home state’s borders and not play for the nearby powerhouse in order to achieve his personal goals.
Both Ewers and Fields made their respective decisions to play at Ohio State for the exact same reason: To get coached by Ryan Day.
“Just the development of Ryan Day,” said Ewers last week at the Elite 11 Finals, explaining why he committed to Ohio State. “His past quarterbacks, I think he had Matt Ryan and obviously he coached for the Philadelphia Eagles, so he knows what he's doing, for sure. I wanted to be developed to the best of my ability, and that was one of the main things, for sure.”
Ewers wants to be a Buckeye, he says, to “be in the greatness of coach Day and just be a sponge up there and just learn as much as I can.”
Yes, he’ll have a better shot at playing for national titles in Columbus compared to Austin. Yes, he’ll have what’s expected to be the best wide receiver corps in the country. Yes, he’ll be in a similarly football-crazed environment and playing for one of the most storied programs in college football history. There are other positives that could have played a role in choosing Ohio State.
But November’s flip, for Ewers, was primarily about putting himself in the best position to succeed and reach his potential as somebody who’s the No. 1 overall recruit in the country but is still four years away from even being eligible to begin an NFL career.
“It's tough but I just looked at it like I felt like it was just a better opportunity for me and for my future,” Ewers said of picking Ohio State over Texas. “And I feel like I kind of was obligated to flip.”
That obligation, as he calls it, superseded his childhood desire to be a Longhorn signal-caller.
After all, Ewers is smart enough to know he’s not a finished product.
Sometimes, that’s hard to remember. After all, he’s not only the No. 1 overall prospect in his recruiting class, but he’s one of just six players since the turn of the century to have a perfect 1.0000 rating by 247Sports. Every quarterback in the past two decades not named Vince Young has been a lower-rated recruit than him. In the Texas high school football scene, Ewers threw for 2,442 yards, 28 touchdowns and five picks with a 66 percent completion rate in a shortened 2020 season while battling through a sports hernia. During his 2019 season at Southlake Carroll, he tossed 45 touchdowns compared to three interceptions.
He’s an effortless passer with a knack for putting the ball exactly where receivers want it regardless of what’s called. Quincy Avery, the famed quarterback coach who has worked closely with Fields, Dwayne Haskins and C.J. Stroud, said Ewers’ “arm talent” is abnormal.
“There's just things he can do with the ball naturally that other people cannot do,” Avery told Eleven Warriors over the weekend. “His legs are in a good situation, bad situation, that doesn't matter because his arm is talented enough to make every single throw.”
Avery isn’t Ewers’ personal quarterback coach, but got a chance to work with him over the weekend as he coached Ewers’ 7-on-7 team – which also included Ohio State commits Kyion Grayes and C.J. Hicks and targets Xavier Nwankpa and A.J. Harris – in The Opening Invitational. It gave him an up-close look at the signal-caller with the blonde mullet.
“I think the thing that will help him the most is getting into Ohio State, getting the structure, coach Day, Corey Dennis and those guys being able to put him in situations where they can really put the structure around him so he can tie his feet to his eyes and play quarterback like a quarterback,” Avery said. “Right now, he's like the best player on the field and he can make all the throws, but when he gets in structure he's going to be really, really special.”
As the trainer of the two most recent Buckeye quarterbacks and potentially the next starter, Avery has a unique point of view on the powerhouse in Columbus. He’s had two guys join Day and seen them both turn into first-round picks.
Ewers, Avery believes, will see similar success under Ohio State’s coaching staff.
“I think any really talented quarterback is going to be able to be successful with those guys,” Avery said. “I think they do a good job of structuring the offense in a way that's going to allow you, no matter your skillset, to be able to thrive and be successful. Dwayne wasn't like Justin. Justin's not like C.J. And all these different guys are going to be coming through that program, they're all different in their own ways.
“But they're going to create an offense that's going to allow each of those guys to thrive, and I'm sure they're going to do the same thing with Quinn.”