We continue the Better Know a Buckeye series with its 17th installment in 2018. Here, we profile Matthew Baldwin, a quarterback from Austin, Texas.
- Size: 6-3/200
- Position: QB
- Hometown: Austin, TX
- School: Lake Travis
- 247 Composite: ★★★★
- National Ranking: 331
- Position Ranking: 12 (PRO QB)
- State Ranking: 43 (TX)
Ohio State coaches identified Baldwin for inclusion into its class late into the 2018 recruiting cycle. It came when it became clear that Emory Jones, one of its first commits in the 2018 class, was not going to sign with the Buckeyes. The coaches found Baldwin, a first-year starter at a prep factory in Austin, as a QB prospect flying under the radar and started recruiting him hard. He visited for the Michigan State game, left with an offer, and committed to Ohio State a month later. He enrolled in January.
I tell an abbreviated version of this recruitment below. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for a pro-style quarterback who is suited well for how the position is going to evolve with Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson as coordinators. I offer a projection of a redshirt in 2018 along with some senior-year highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.
Matthew Baldwin's recruitment is going to be forever linked to Emory Jones. If not for Emory Jones, Matthew Baldwin is likely on Colorado State's roster right now.
More Matthew Baldwin at 11W
The dedicated recruitniks will remember Emory Jones odyssey in detail but it's worth relaying to the fan base that only casually follows recruiting. Jones, a quarterback prospect from Georgia, was one of Ohio State's longest-running commits in the 2018 class, first committing to the Buckeyes on July 29, 2016.
That commitment was solid for over a year until Jones started to get cold feet. He fielded strong interest from Alabama among others before making the decision to decommit from Ohio State. He ultimately chose to sign with Florida because its new coach, Dan Mullen, was the first FBS offer he received (from Mississippi State) and Florida no doubt has a need for a talented dual-threat quarterback.
Ohio State could read between the lines as this was happening and started looking for a quarterback late into the recruiting cycle that fit the offense Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson had installed. It found a prospect in Matthew Baldwin.
Baldwin's recruitment had been quiet to this point. A three-star prospect at the time, Baldwin was a first-year starter at otherwise a well-known high school prep program in Texas. High on potential, but light on game film, Baldwin fielded a few offers from the likes of Abilene Christian, Texas-San Antonio, and Texas State before jumping on the most prestigious FBS offer he had at the time: Colorado State.
Ohio State offered Baldwin on Nov. 12 of last year, almost four months after Baldwin committed to Colorado State. It came after Baldwin took an unofficial visit to Ohio State for the Michigan State game. This was as much a signal boost for Baldwin as his game film in his first year as a varsity starter. Offers from Minnesota, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Carolina followed.
However, the Ohio State opportunity was too good to forgo.
Matthew Baldwin committed to Ohio State on Dec. 12, 2017 as the 17th member of what would become Ohio State's full 2018 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over Colorado State, Minnesota, and North Carolina, among others.
— Matthew Baldwin (@matthewb_12) December 8, 2017
In a National Signing Day interview, Baldwin identified Ohio State was the right place at the right time to enroll and compete for a starting job.
Baldwin signed with Ohio State during the early signing period and enrolled at Ohio State in January.
WHERE HE EXCELS
Matthew Baldwin is a solid quarterback prospect for where Ohio State's offense is going with coordinators Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson.
Baldwin's accuracy is his greatest attribute from what admittedly little we've seen of him. A one-year starter, Baldwin completed more than 70% of his passes as he willed Lake Travis deep into state playoff run. He tacked on a 44/6 TD/INT ratio to this senior year as well.
Importantly, Baldwin is an ideal kind of prospect for how the quarterback position needs to evolve for Ohio State. Baldwin is ultimately a pro-style quarterback. He thinks like a pro-style quarterback as well. However, he's also a capable runner and scrambler and shows it when he needs to keep a passing play alive to find someone down the field or a check-down when the pocket collapses. Put another way, Ryan Day, a Chip Kelly disciple, would have recruited Matthew Baldwin to any program and Chip Kelly, had Baldwin been available, would have recruited Baldwin to Oregon or UCLA. Baldwin should thrive as Ohio State gradually leans less on QB counter treys and designed QB runs as part of the offense.
Finally, we should give some comment to Baldwin's pedigree. Lake Travis is a prep machine and its recent alumni include Todd Reesing (Kansas), Garrett Gilbert (Texas, SMU), Michael Brewer (Virginia Tech), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), and Charlie Brewer (Baylor). That program produces FBS-caliber quarterbacks almost every year.
MUST WORK ON
Baldwin is a one-year starter at Lake Travis. In fact, his dedication to stay on the Lake Travis roster to wait his turn speaks well of his competitiveness and it was one of the reasons why Urban Meyer identified him as a QB to recruit late into the 2018 cycle. However, it does mean Baldwin is light on reps.
Further, Baldwin injured himself on the first play of the state championship game to end his high school career. Rehabilitation will be an important short-term priority.
This is a certain redshirt in 2018. Dwayne Haskins is the heir apparent at starter and Tate Martell is the almost certain backup now that Joe Burrow is at LSU. Matthew Baldwin will play in 2018 only if something went horribly wrong over the course of the season.
Here are senior-year highlights of Matthew Baldwin.