One week after participating in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was back in Columbus on Saturday to meet some Buckeye fans and make some money.
In his first public autograph signing event since he declared for the 2019 NFL draft in January, Haskins signed memorabilia for a few hundred people at Sports Possessions at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing in Dublin, and said he was appreciative of the continuing support that Ohio State fans showed him.
“It means the world to me,” Haskins told Eleven Warriors in an interview just before the event. “Just to be able to transition from being a student-athlete at Ohio State to now being a professional athlete and still receiving Ohio State love, it means a lot.”
Haskins is coming off a solid showing at last weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where his throwing session was generally regarded as the best among all quarterbacks who participated in the event, while he also reportedly impressed league decision-makers in his interview sessions. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote this week that according to NFL coaches and executives, Haskins was among the “prospects who helped themselves” in the interview room.
“I thought it went well,” Haskins said of his experience at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Even so, Haskins isn’t done trying to impress NFL scouts yet. He says he’s planning to go through a full throwing workout at Ohio State’s pro day on March 20, when he’ll have the benefit of scripting his own workout and throwing to a trio of familiar receivers in Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin.
“I’m gonna do the whole thing as far as route trees, some on-the-move throws and moving off platform throws, so it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Haskins said.
Haskins also plans to run the 40-yard dash again at pro day after completing that drill in a time of just 5.04 seconds at the combine, the slowest time among all quarterbacks who participated. Haskins was battling leg cramps when he ran the 40 in Indianapolis, but said he has run faster in his pre-draft workout training and believes he can better his time.
“I was thinking about not running before I ran it, just because of how my body felt before,” Haskins said. “But before I got out there I was running low 4.8s, and I’m just looking forward to running at pro day.”
“I’m gonna do the whole thing as far as route trees, some on-the-move throws and moving off platform throws, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”– Dwayne Haskins on his plans for Ohio State's pro day
While Haskins is preparing for pro day and looking ahead to start of his NFL career, his former team was back on the field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this week for its first two spring practices of the year.
Haskins said he has been in touch with several of his former teammates, as well as new Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields – who did not play with Haskins at Ohio State, but has previously trained with Haskins and their personal quarterback trainer Quincy Avery – to check in on how things are going, though he hasn’t the opportunity to see them practice yet.
“I talked to Justin, talked to C.J. (Saunders), talked to Ben (Victor), a couple of guys in my class,” Haskins said. “I’m looking forward to going back to practice after they get back from spring break, and just seeing how everybody’s doing.”
Haskins will likely continue to serve as a resource for Fields, the presumptive frontrunner to succeed Haskins as Ohio State’s starting quarterback even though he just arrived as a transfer from Georgia in January, as Fields chases his own goals of becoming a star for the Buckeyes and playing in the NFL.
For now, though, Fields is competing for the starting job with Matthew Baldwin, and Haskins – as someone who also knows what it is like to compete for the starting job at Ohio State, having battled with Joe Burrow and Tate Martell last spring before his record-breaking season last fall – said his advice to Fields is just to focus on his personal development each day instead of thinking ahead to the future.
“The biggest thing I would say for him is just to master the playbook and get to know his guys, and he’ll be fine from there,” Haskins said of his advice to Fields. “It’s one day at a time. Don’t worry about the end goal of what you want to do. Just get better every day, and it will take care of itself.”
Haskins is excited to see what Fields and the rest of the Buckeyes will be able to accomplish in 2019, though, with Ryan Day – Haskins’ quarterbacks coach for his final two seasons at Ohio State – now in his first year as the Buckeyes’ head coach.
“I think he’s a rockstar of a guy, and I definitely think he’ll do a great job as far as developing his players, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does this year,” Haskins said of Day.
Haskins, who has been training for his pre-draft workouts in Los Angeles, does not currently have any more autograph signings planned in central Ohio. He is scheduled to be at the Franklin Park Mall in Toledo for the Ohio Sports Group’s “Rivalry Weekend” event on March 23, which will feature four former Ohio State players – Haskins, J.T. Barrett, Parris Campbell and Dre’Mont Jones – as well as former Michigan defensive ends Chase Winovich and Taco Charlton.