A Timeline of Ohio State's Quarterback Departures, Illustrating How the Unit Went From Deep to Depleted

By Kevin Harrish on April 18, 2019 at 9:30 pm
Justin Fields leads the way for the Buckeye quarterbacks room.

At the end of December, Ohio State's top three quarterbacks in order were Dwayne Haskins, Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin, with four-star quarterback prospect Dwan Mathis set to join them. Justin Fields, meanwhile, was Georgia's quarterback of the future.

Less than four months later, all three of those Buckeye quarterbacks have left the program, or at least plan to leave, Mathis never signed with the Buckeyes, and Fields is Ohio State's presumptive starter as one of just two scholarship quarterbacks remaining on the roster – both of whom are transfers from other programs.

In a very short time, Ohio State went from seemingly overloaded with talent at the quarterback position to seeking a late graduate transfer addition to ensure a walk-on doesn't crack the three-deep.

Here's a look at how it all went down.

Dec. 17: Justin Fields begins exploring a transfer to Ohio State

The quarterback shuffle began with rumors that five-star quarterback Justin Fields was exploring a transfer from Georgia and was highly considering Ohio State as a landing spot.

The Fields to Ohio State smoke grew steadily over the next few weeks as both the Buckeyes and the Bulldogs prepared for their respective New Year's Day bowl games and put the finishing touches on their 2019 recruiting classes.

Still, even if Fields did transfer, his immediate eligibility was not a guarantee.

Dec. 19: Four-star quarterback Dwan Mathis flips from Ohio State to Georgia

Indirectly, Ohio State's expected addition of Fields cost the Buckeyes their lone quarterback in the 2019 class when four-star 2019 quarterback Dwan Mathis flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Georgia on the first day of the December early signing period.

Mathis told The Detroit News that his flip was not about Fields joining Ohio State's roster – that wouldn't change the roster much from Mathis' perspective and he didn't know for sure if Fields was going to Ohio State anyway – but Fields leaving Georgia. Without Fields, Georgia had just one scholarship quarterback on the roster, possibly paving the way to earlier playing time, in his mind.

Dec. 30: Tate Martell says he will not transfer

With rumors of Justin Fields' potential transfer to Ohio State, Tate Martell fielded questions about his future with the Buckeyes and was adamant that he would not transfer and that he would win the job if Fields did join the Buckeyes.

“I have no doubt that I'll go out there and win the job,” Martell said at Rose Bowl media day.

“There's no reason I shouldn't (stay),” Martell said on Sunday. “This dude hasn't put a single second into Ohio State football. I don't know why somebody would think that the grass is greener on the other side, but I guess he's kind of looking at it like a fantasy way, I guess.”

Jan. 4: Justin Fields announces his transfer to Ohio State

Justin Fields made his transfer to Ohio State official shortly after the dust settled from Ohio State's Rose Bowl victory and Georgia's Sugar Bowl defeat.

The former five-star quarterback became the highest-rated prospect ever to sign with the Buckeyes, though he did not yet have eligibility for the 2019 season.

Jan. 7: Dwayne Haskins declares for the NFL Draft

Three days after Justin Fields announced his transfer from Ohio State, Dwayne Haskins declared for the NFL Draft, forgoing his final two years of eligibility.

His decision shocked nobody, as it was widely assumed he would declare for the draft following the season, but it officially kicked off the battle for Ohio State's starting quarterback spot in 2019.

Jan. 10: Tate Martell enters the NCAA transfer portal

Tate Martell removed himself from the quarterback competition before it even began, entering his name in the NCAA transfer portal less than two weeks after he said he would not transfer and was confident he'd win the starting job.

Less than a week later, Martell officially announced his transfer to the University of Miami.

Jan. 17: Kory Curtis transfers from Ohio State

Though he wasn't a scholarship player and was never going to play in any meaningful capacity at Ohio State, the Buckeyes' quarterback depth took an additional hit in mid January when walk-on quarterback Kory Curtis announced his transfer to Bryant University.

Curtis' transfer left the Buckeyes with just four quarterbacks, one of which was currently ineligible and another a walk-on.

Feb. 8: Justin Fields receives immediate eligibility

After two months of quarterback shuffles, Ohio State got some good news in early February that Justin Fields' waiver for immediate eligibility had been granted.

With Fields eligible immediately, Ohio State's quarterback battle could officially commence between Fields and Matthew Baldwin.

March 8: Matthew Baldwin sees himself on equal footing with Justin Fields

Despite the addition of highly-touted transfer Justin Fields, Matthew Baldwin didn't feel he was chasing Fields as the quarterback battle began, and said he would have patience even if he didn't win the starting spot.

“Mitch Trubisky is a great example,” Baldwin said. “He only started one year, right, and he was, what, a top-three pick. I think patience is a very valuable thing. If you're in the right place, I think you can get to where you want to be from anywhere.”

April 13: Ryan Day says the quarterback battle will continue into the summer

After 15 spring practices, there was no clear-cut winner in Ohio State's quarterback battle between Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin and new head coach Ryan Day said the battle would continue over the summer and into fall camp.

Neither quarterback performed exceptionally well in the spring game. Fields completed 3 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, with 38 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Baldwin completed 20 of 36 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions.

April 18: Matthew Baldwin enters the NCAA transfer portal

Though he was still in contention to become Ohio State's starting quarterback, Matthew Baldwin entered the NCAA transfer portal less than a week after the spring game.

Austin Ward of Lettermen Row reported that those close to the situation believe Baldwin's decision is "more to a desire to be closer to home rather than a concern about future playing time or any issues with the coaching staff."

As it stands, Ohio State has just three quarterbacks on the roster, one of which is a backup. Justin Fields is the presumptive starter with one-time West Virginia graduate transfer Chris Chugunov as the only other scholarship quarterback. The other quarterback on the roster is walk-on Danny Vanatsky.

The Buckeyes will now look to add a late graduate transfer to help fill the depth chart.

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