New Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is a special talent.
That's an easy takeaway for the 6'3", 225-pound signal-caller from Kennesaw, Georgia. Rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class with a .9998 composite rating, Fields is officially the most touted player to ever sign with the Buckeyes.
The former 5-star took a winding road to Columbus. Fields committed to Penn State in December, 2016 and reopened his recruitment 18 months later. He then committed to Georgia and enrolled early to take part in spring practice, but after just one season with the Bulldogs, he transferred to Ohio State for an opportunity to play in the Ryan Day offense that turned Dwayne Haskins into a first-round NFL draft lock after just one year as a starter.
As Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated pointed out, there's a path for Fields to gain immediate eligibility and bypass the lost year most transfers endure. If Fields qualifies for the NCAA's new transfer waiver, he'll battle Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin for Ohio State's starting quarterback spot.
So what do the Buckeyes have in Fields? How does he stack up with Haskins and other historic Ohio State quarterbacks?
He didn't have many opportunities to showcase his skillset at Georgia. Fields played in all but two games for the Bulldogs, but he threw just 39 total passes, completing 69.2 percent of his throws for 328 yards and four touchdowns against no interceptions. He also piled up another 266 yards and four more scores on the ground.
With returning starter Jake Fromm behind center, Fields' complementary role didn't allow him to fully showcase the type of highlights he put together in high school.
Those highlights should have Buckeye fans excited, because Ohio State simply hasn't had an all-around talent like this at quarterback.
The Buckeyes have had elite runners behind center. Since the turn of the century, Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett were excellent ground threats. They've also had their share of strong arms with the likes of Troy Smith, Cardale Jones and, of course, Haskins.
But a quarterback with truly game-breaking running skills and the cannon arm? It's a stretch to find a past Ohio State quarterback to match the potential Fields possesses.
247Sports director of recruiting, Barton Simmons, is equally enamored, and made a different comparison for Fields, via Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports.
"He's [former Clemson quarterback] Deshaun Watson from an athletic standpoint, but he's more advanced at this point," Simmons said. "When you put that together it's hard not to be incredibly optimistic."
Simmons had recently watched Fields at the Elite 11 quarterback competition, and he wasn't the only one who came away impressed.
Heard from 3 guys who coach at the @Elite11 & each said Justin Fields is THE most impressive QB they've seen in their 6,7,8 years working it
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 7, 2017
And it wasn't just his playmaking ability on the field, but his intangibles off the field that made such a strong impression.
"He stood out in every aspect you can gauge in that setting: smarts, arm, athleticism, size, presence, leadership, maturity."
That's what Fields brings to the table, and if things work out with his transfer waiver, Ohio State could be on the path to big things.
"He's going to win a national championship for some team," Simmons said. "It's a matter of who's fortunate enough to get him."