The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
The Haskins File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 6-3/200
- Pos: QB
- School: The Bullis School (Potomac, MD)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 7 (QB)
Quarterback recruiting was a bit of a rollercoaster throughout the 2016 cycle, but the Buckeyes circled back to a familiar face and landed one of the nation's elite signal-callers.
"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."
Dwayne Haskins and Jarrett Guarantano were identified early on as the Buckeyes' top 2016 quarterback targets. Things went back and forth between the two, but many thought Haskins would ultimately be the guy due to his ties to the university, specifically a number of visits dating back to his childhood days.
Other schools began to enter the fray for the Potomac four-star, but Penn State emerged early on as perhaps the biggest threat.
For months, Haskins' crystal ball predictions were unanimous that he would commit to Ohio State. Over the last few weeks, though, some pundits have switched their prediction to Penn State. It seems Ohio State's victory on Saturday Night did little to undermine James Franklin's recruiting mojo.
The Buckeyes would eventually lose their perceived lead for Haskins, as Penn State, Maryland, and others entered the fray. Other schools also began putting a buzz in his ear that Ohio State landing a pair of quarterbacks in 2015 – Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson – could cause a bit of a numbers crunch at the position.
Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and recruiting ace Mike Locksley looked to keep the state's top talent at home in a campaign that become known as "The Movement." Haskins, who obviously plays the most important position on the field and is well-respected by his peers, was perhaps the most important piece to that puzzle.
Last May, Haskins took the plunge and committed to the Terps, becoming the de facto leader of #TheMovement. In an interview with The Washington Post, the signal-caller cited his relationship with offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Mike Locksley as one of the deciding factors.
“He gave me my space. That’s what I like about it,” Haskins said. “A lot of people, a lot of schools, push themselves upon you to commit and pick a school right away and he never rushed me.” Via
Haskins immediately assumed the role as the lead recruiter amongst the Terps' 2016 class, constantly interacting with local and national recruits on social media and in College Park.
Things began to change a bit in October. The Terps were 2-4 (0-2 in the Big Ten) and that was enough to mark the end of the Randy Edsall era. For Maryland fans hoping to hang on to one of the state's top players, there was a bit of good news when it was announced that Mike Locksley would be named interim head coach.
In December, it was announced that Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin would be the new head coach, and questions about Mike Locksley's future immediately began to surface. Those questions led to even more questions about the status of the Terrapins' most high-profile commit.
As it began to look like Locksley would't be retained, the Haskins' recruitment really began to take off. He had been tied to Florida, LSU, and of course, Ohio State. The weekend of Dec. 11 was likely the turning point as the Maryland commit traveled to Columbus for an official visit.
As things began to look up for the Buckeyes, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Durkin's Terps as they began extending offers to other quarterbacks.
An official visit to Baton Rouge was discussed, but it never ended up happening. On Jan. 18, Dwayne Haskins committed to Ohio State. Not only did he make things official, but he brought another former Maryland pledge along with him as four-star star linebacker Keandre Jones also made the flip. With Zach Smith's top wide receiver target, Binjimen Victor, also joining the fold, twelve-star Monday ended up being quite the day for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
In Haskins, the Buckeyes are getting one of the nation's top quarterbacks and, perhaps more importantly, a leader on and off the field. There's a reason so many prospects are drawn to the four-star, and the Buckeyes are already benefitting from his presence.
"He is the best pure passer I have ever seen in high school football," Pat Cilento told Eleven Warriors. "He is so fundamentally sound and the ball jumps out of his hand. He is very smart and is more athletic then most give him credit for, plus he is very mature for his age. Of all the kids I have go through the recruiting process, he has handled it the best."