Skull Session: Jagger Laroe Talks C.J. Stroud, Dwayne Haskins Could Start Next Season, and Pete Werner is Already a Star

By Kevin Harrish on January 21, 2022 at 5:45 am
We're waiting for next season in today's skull session.

Zach Harrison has a very, very important question.

The answer is actually very simple, but probably stranger than he might expect: it depends on if you plan to make it until the end.

Word of the Day: Dainty.

 EXIT INTERVIEW. The only people who really know what's going on in the locker room and at practice are the guys who are there and in the thick of it. So there's nobody better to tell us about C.J. Stroud's emergence than a guy who worked alongside him every day since he's been on campus.

Thankfully for us outsiders, we get that chance with walk-on quarterback Jagger Laroe leaving the program and my good pal Bill Landis hitting him up for an exit interview.

What impresses you the most about C.J.?

He’s a pro on and off the field. I’ve had people, even with Justin, say, “Oh that guy is famous, he’s gotta be a jerk or whatever.” C.J. respects everyone from the janitors to Coach Day. When you meet him, that’s who he is all the time. But that doesn’t take away from him as a competitor. He definitely has that edge to him. You can tell that he’s driven by something other than a need for fame or notoriety. It’s from his core. He’s going to be really successful.


Was there a time during the year where you felt like you saw C.J. take things to another level?

I’ve always been on the train. I know fans in Columbus, even my barber after the Minnesota and Oregon games was like, “What do we think about C.J.?” And I was just like, “I’m not sure what y’all are talking about.” C.J. threw for about 500 yards against Oregon. The kid is ballin’. I think everything kinda needed to sync up. Naturally, the blame is gonna go toward the quarterback, but I felt like C.J. did a great job of blocking out the noise and focusing on his game. I couldn’t pinpoint a single game. I genuinely thought he was playing at a high level the entire season.

I'm not sure what I expected to hear besides something like "he throws a ball about as well as any normal person could hand it to a receiver," but what Laroe gives me nothing but confidence that Ohio State has the right guy at the helm.

Respect everyone, lose to no one – even the janitor (in both cases).

 NEXT BIG BEN? Speaking of Ohio State quarterbacks, with Ben Roethlisberger on his way out, this is a prime opportunity for Dwayne Haskins to earn himself a starting spot again.

And according to Ian Rapoport, he's already "caught the eye" of Mike Tomlin.

The Steelers have QB Mason Rudolph under contract for another year, thanks to an extension that gave him nearly $5 million in new money. Dwayne Haskins, the former first-rounder who signed for the minimum in Pittsburgh before the season, will be a restricted free agent.

Both QBs are expected to be able to compete for a starting job in 2022, with Rudolph spending his entire career biding his time and waiting and Haskins emerging as someone who has caught the eye of coach Mike Tomlin.

It wouldn't shock me at all if Haskins did find himself as the starter next season. He's had his struggles, but you don't shred Ohio State's single-season passing records the way he did without talent. He has a damn cyborg arm.

However, what *does* shock me is Haskins' pitch of what he can add to this Steelers' offense: mobility.

Yes, seriously. The guy I have described as running like C-3PO on multiple occasions is talking up his mobility.

But I guess relative to 39-year-old Roethlisberger and his beer-league physique, anybody is a track star.

 ANOTHER CHANCE. I'm a huge fan of second chances – and third, fourth and fifth chances, for that matter. And that's what Damon Arnette is getting with the Chiefs.

He blew the opportunity of a lifetime in Vegas, but most of the time, life doesn't stop going when you mess up. Good to see him still trying to bounce back.

 PISTOL PETE. Remember all the people online who insisted for years that Pete Werner was bad at football? He just finished as the highest-graded linebacker against the run in the entire NFL.

His rookie season.

Pete Werner is the sort of guy that's going to start for 12-15 years in the league and make multiple all-pro teams yet walk into a Walmart and be recognized by absolutely nobody. And I don't think he'd have it any other way.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Africa" by Toto.

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