PASADENA, Calif. – By throwing three touchdown passes in the first half of Ohio State’s 28-23 season-ending Rose Bowl win on Tuesday, Dwayne Haskins finished the season with 50 touchdown passes, becoming the first quarterback in Big Ten history and just the sixth quarterback in Football Bowl Subdivision history to reach that milestone.
Haskins wasn’t completely satisfied with that, though. Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan threw 58 touchdown passes in 2006, and Haskins wanted to break that record.
“I wanted the Colt Brennan touchdown (record), so I might have to do that next year,” Haskins said after the game. “That’s motivation right there.”
It’s widely expected that Haskins, after a spectacular season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback in which he also shattered the Big Ten record for single-season passing yards (4,893) and finished third place in Heisman Trophy voting, will declare for the 2019 NFL draft.
If Haskins enters this spring's draft, he will likely be the first quarterback selected. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Tuesday that Haskins is expected to enter the draft, and that he is also expected to hire Athletes First’s David Mulugheta – who also represents former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson – as his agent.
During an interview following the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl celebration on Tuesday night, however, Haskins said he would put “50/50” odds on whether he would declare for the draft or stay at Ohio State for another season, and responded affirmatively when asked if he was genuinely torn about his decision.
Beyond the chance to make another run at Brennan’s record, a Heisman Trophy and a national championship, there are several other factors that could also give him reason to consider staying at Ohio State for another year.
“The school, the teammates, the coaches, my friends, my girlfriend’s there,” Haskins said. “I got to finish my degree in a couple semesters, so a lot of positives for both, staying or leaving.”
The positives of leaving Ohio State for the NFL now are obvious. As a projected first-round NFL draft pick, Haskins has the potential to become a multimillionaire in April. Stay at Ohio State for another year, and he’ll have to wait another year to cash in – with no guarantee that his stock will be as high for the 2020 draft as it is right now.
Haskins believes he can improve, though, if he stays in Columbus for another year, which would mean another year of learning from Ryan Day – his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this season, who will be Ohio State’s head coach next season following Urban Meyer’s retirement.
“I feel like I can only get better,” Haskins said. “So that’s another thing that could help me out with making a decision.”
Haskins has until the NFL’s Jan. 15 deadline to declare for early draft entry to make his decision, and he plans on using at least some of that time.
“There’s no timeline,” Haskins said. “I owe it to myself, my teammates and my family to look at all the pros and cons of the situation, and then make a decision from there.”
The only decision he planned on making after Tuesday night’s game wasn’t whether he should leave for the NFL, but where he should go for dinner.
“I had In-N-Out a couple days ago, that was pretty good,” Haskins said. “I got to find somewhere to go. Maybe (fifth-year senior wide receiver) Parris (Campbell) will pay for my food.”
“I owe it to myself, my teammates and my family to look at all the pros and cons of the situation, and then make a decision from there.”– Dwayne Haskins on whether he will enter the 2019 NFL draft
While Haskins will certainly have people in his corner telling him that he should jump at his chance to play in the NFL and get paid now, there’s also plenty of people who would love to see him stay. Those include his teammates, who he said tell him every day that they want him to come back, as well as Ohio State fans, who started a “One more year” chant as he walked back into the locker room following Tuesday night’s game.
With a rose in his mouth and the game ball, Dwayne Haskins gives an O-H as he runs off the field following Ohio States Rose Bowl victory. pic.twitter.com/RScqvVnCam
— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) January 2, 2019
“Buckeye Nation loves me, and I loved Buckeye Nation since I was 8, 9, 10 years old,” Haskins said. “So to receive that ovation from them, to know how much they value me as a player and to know how much work I put into this to be in this spot, just to go to school here, just really blessed.”
Ultimately, though, Haskins has to make the decision that he feels is best for him.
“What does my heart say?” Haskins said. “I’m of course listening to my coaches. My teammates want me to come back every day. … So I’m going to talk to my family, and I’ll just think about it. It’s going to be a hard decision.”