The 11W Community Interview is truly of the people, by the people and for the people. You submit the questions and then we pass them on to the biggest names in the world of Ohio State athletics.
After growing apart from long-time quarterback commit Emory Jones, Ohio State identified Texas three-star Matthew Baldwin as its top priority at the position for the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Baldwin was in the midst of a stellar senior season — one in which he threw for 3,842 yards and 44 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions for football powerhouse Lake Travis — when he pledged his services to the staff just a few weeks after picking up an offer during his official visit for the Buckeyes' 48-3 win over Michigan State. The Cavaliers ultimately fell just short of a state championship, though, as Baldwin went down in the first quarter with an unspecified knee injury.
Baldwin is among the nine Buckeyes who enrolled in spring semester classes this week. But before he boarded his plane to Columbus, he took a few minutes to sit down and talk with our readers about his relationship with Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, his favorite BBQ joints and much more in the 11W Community Interview.
How do you prepare for a game? Do you have any game day preparation like special foods, habits or rituals? - Dubjayfootball90
MB: “In high school, I would go to breakfast with my kicker on game day. Other than that, I don't really have too many traditions. You know, if you make one and you forget about it, you don't want to have a reason or an excuse that you lost or something like that.”
Why Ohio State? - Bucksknowwhatitis
MB: “Playing at the highest level for a championship is high on my list. I was doing that at Lake Travis, and I don't want to change. I want to be playing where everyone cares about the game and every single play and everything you do matters. I enjoy that pressure. I think it makes me better. I wanted to play at the highest level and against the best competition.
"Another thing is that I want to play in the NFL someday. That's a goal of mine, and there aren't a lot of other places that can prepare you like Ohio State can. As far as coaching, it's the best there is. The competition, it's the best there is. Even in my early years, if I'm doing scout team, the defense I'm going up against is an NFL-type defense. You're getting prepared with the best.
What will you be majoring in? - Seattle Linga
MB: “I think it's going to be business.”
Does being a three-star recruit leave you with a chip on your shoulder? - GlassCityBuckeyes
MB: “You have to have something that gives you a little edge, a little push. It's a little different because I only started my senior year and trusted the process, but I definitely have a chip on my shoulder because people didn't believe in me.”
What is your favorite BBQ item or restaurant? - Desymond
MB: “It's tough. I like Salt Lick in Austin. I like Rudy's. Rudy's is great. That's a tough question. We even got a place called Schmidt BBQ that moved in late while I was there, but I think Salt Lick is pretty good.”
Do you feel that cold temperatures have much of an impact on quarterback play? - Mockjocks
MB: “I think it definitely can if you let it. It's about being tough and practicing the right way. We played Katy in our semifinal game, and they're a team that relies on their incredible defense and runs the ball. We came into that game and it was 40 degrees and pouring, so we could have just mailed it in and said, 'This is set up perfect for them and they're going to run all over us and we're not going to be able to throw it.'
"We did a great job with being tough and being smart and taking what they gave us. It can affect you if you let it or think about it too much, but if you play hard and practice well, it's not a big deal.”
Being a late addition to the class, what have you done to connect with current players/commits/signees? - KBonay
MB: “Two in particular have reached out to me, Tate [Martell] and Dwayne [Haskins]. I'm looking forward to getting to know them. I'm actually going to room with Master [Teague III], so I'm going to end up being really good friends with him. He's an awesome guy.”
What's your favorite animal? - GOOMBAY
MB: “I think I like lions and tigers, just because they're the king of the jungle.”
Have you met Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, since you both attended Lake Travis? Has he given you any advice about playing at a big-time university? - SoulPatrol32
MB: “I threw with him this past summer. He's had a pretty busy year, so I haven't gotten to talk to him much during the year. But I threw with him this past summer, and he loves Lake Travis. Has a lot of pride in it. He'll always come back around and he supports us so much. The advice he gave me is just not let any other person dictate what you think of yourself. It shows up in the way he plays. He doesn't look exactly like an NFL quarterback, but he's going to be drafted this year and he's the Heisman winner.”
Are there any Lake Travis guys you plan to target as future Buckeyes? - KBonay
MB: “Garrett [Wilson] is definitely one of them. I'd love to be able to throw to him again in my lifetime. I'm biased, but I think he's the best receiver in the country. I love throwing to him. He makes me look better, so I'm going to strongly recruit him.
"Hudson Card played receiver for us this year, he's kind of an athlete who might play quarterback for us next year. He could be a big-time college receiver or athlete. He's got the talent to do it. I think he might get an opportunity and he'll have success wherever he ends up. I'd like to start an Ohio State-Lake Travis pipeline.”