Skull Session: Jack Miller is the Future, Graduate Transfer Changes, and Joey Lane Offers to Play Quarterback

By Kevin Harrish on April 19, 2019 at 4:59 am
Chris Chugunov is the hero we need in today's skull session.
© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing like a light offseason Thursday, am I right?

Word of the Day: Valediction.

 MATTHEW BALDWIN THINGS. Folks, the Matthew Baldwin era of Ohio State football is over.

Here's your recap, with a glimpse of a few things yet to come today.

My lone request for Mr. Baldwin is that he choose an ACC school so that we may have a that legendary Tate/Baldwin matchup.

 THE SKY AIN'T FALLING. I thought we'd start the day off be reminding you all that Ohio State's current starting quarterback is the highest-rated player ever to sign with the Buckeyes and the heir to the throne, Jack Miller, is coming in next year.

And by the way, there's no chance this Tweet was coincidental:

Yeah, Ohio State's probably boned if Justin Fields goes down with an injury this season (no disrespect to Chris "The Dragunov" Chugunov, of course). That's certainly not ideal, but it's also very much a bridge we'll cross if we get to it.

It's not great, but I'm not even convinced this isn't Ohio State's best-case scenario, given all other options. It's easy to say this wouldn't have happened if the Buckeyes never took Fields, but I honestly think it would have played out very much the same way.

Dwayne Haskins was always leaving, and the loser of the Matthew Baldwin/Tate Martell battle was probably going to transfer no matter what, leaving the starter and Chugunov – exactly where we are right now. But in this case, Ohio State has a starting quarterback who I personally believe is better than either Baldwin or Martell.

The biggest difference is that if Fields never comes to Ohio State, there's at least a chance the Buckeyes do sign Dwan Mathis, but even that isn't a guarantee. Remember, Fields didn't chase Mathis away from Ohio State, his departure from Georgia just opened up a very advantageous spot on the Bulldogs' roster for Mathis. And if Mathis was looking for a convenient path to playing time, who's to say he wasn't going to find that somewhere else, and sign elsewhere anyway?

I don't know. Maybe things could have worked out better, but I still think Ohio State has the most talented starting quarterback it possibly could have had in any scenario. It's just now a little more important to keep him on the field. 

 2 IS BETTER THAN 1? Speaking of college athletics free agency, there's a proposal out there that would pretty drastically alter the graduate transfer market.

Basically, the proposal would force schools to allocate a scholarship for a graduate transfer player for two years instead of just one, even if the student runs out of eligibility after just one season.

From Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports:

An under-the-radar NCAA proposal that would at least slow the 13-year-old graduate transfer movement faces a vote this week. Its passage looks unlikely.

Proposal 2018-106 would require any program accepting a graduate transfer in football, men's basketball or women's basketball to commit to a scholarship for two years rather than one. (The second-year commitment would disappear if the transfer completed their graduate degree in the first year.)

If a transfer did not complete their graduate degree in that first year and ran out of NCAA eligibility, a program would have a "dead" scholarship that second year.

I get the concern here, because I totally buy that most players aren't using the transfer exception for legitimate academic reasons. Some probably have no intention of ever getting a usable graduate degree.

That said, this is still dumb.

This might slow down graduate transfers a bit, but it's also going to lead to worthless one-year graduate programs essentially designed to pump college transfer athletes through a program in a year to save that second scholarship.

And even if it's very effective at its goals, are the athletes who've actually graduated and received a college degree really the ones we want to punish with more regulations? That seems backwards.

For the record, this seems unlikely to pass, so we may not have to deal with it anyway.

 QUIET AND DELIBERATE. I thought nothing of Matthew Baldwin's absence from Ohio State's spring game interviews, but in hindsight, maybe I should have!

In a way, I respect the hell out of how Baldwin did this. There weren't really any swirling rumors, he went out of his way not to talk to reporters after the spring game, and he quickly confirmed the news when it broke with his own well-written statement.

He just came at us with it like a thief in the night.

 JOEY PAULUS? Ohio State needs a quarterback, and a beloved backup at a different sport has thoughtfully volunteered his services.

Ohio State could have a more difficult time landing a graduate transfer quarterback than most expect, because who the hell is going to do it? Graduate transfers typically leave their programs in search of playing time, not another bench to sit on. Anyone willing to use their final year of eligibility as a backup at another school probably isn't really going to help Ohio State all that much.

What I'm saying is, maybe Joey's offer is worth a shot. I mean, he's already proven incredibly talented at sitting down and waving a towel on the sideline. Give him a scholarship and have him do it in pads instead.

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