Following an early signing day on which former Ohio State quarterback commit Dwan Mathis ended up signing with Georgia instead, the rumors that Georgia quarterback Justin Fields could end up transferring to Ohio State are only heating up.
According to a report published Wednesday evening by ESPN's Mark Schlabach, Fields is “interested in transferring to Ohio State, where star quarterback Dwayne Haskins is expected to forgo his (last two seasons of eligibility) and enter April's NFL draft.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart confirmed Wednesday that Fields, who is now in the NCAA's transfer portal, is exploring his options about transferring to another school, but has not yet told the coach that he is definitely leaving.
From Schlabach's report:
“I think he's looking at his options,” Smart said Wednesday. “Let me say this about Justin: Justin is competing extremely hard. He's in the meeting rooms; he's rolling and going with the twos. His information to us is he's looking at his options, which is what you do. You go into the portal, which we all know he's in. That's the extent of it, and that's the conversation we've had.”
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Wednesday that he did not want to comment or speculate on whether the Buckeyes would pursue a transfer quarterback, but did say that in general, the Buckeyes are open to the possibility of bringing in a transfer if they believed that player could help the program.
“We'll always look at all the options,” Day said. “Whatever we think can help our roster. The guys who are in our program, obviously they develop and work through our program, and so those guys obviously have priority. But if there is a need and there is someone that we need to plug in there, we'll look at all those options.”
Fields, the No. 2 overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2018, would seemingly fit that description. If Haskins does in fact leave for the NFL, the Buckeyes will have an opening for a new starting quarterback, and Fields would likely be a candidate to start immediately if he can successfully petition the NCAA for a hardship waiver that would grant him immediate eligibility.
Whether Fields ultimately ends up at Ohio State, however, could depend on whether Day firmly believes Fields would be an upgrade over Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin – the top candidates currently on the roster to succeed Haskins – as the Buckeyes wouldn't be bringing Fields in to be a backup.