Once upon a time Justin Fields was in a two-headed race with QB Trevor Lawrence to see who would be the number once recruit in the country. Fields then committed to the University of Georgia (UGA) in what was at first viewed as a questionable move seeing that UGA had just lost the CFP National Championship Game with a true freshman quarterback in Jake Fromm. The move only became more questionable when fans barely saw Fields touch the field due to him sitting behind Fromm, who is now slated to be one of the best QB’s in the 2020 NFL draft. In contrast, Trevor Lawrence captured a national championship in just his first season under center and was a late season Heisman trophy candidate after finishing with over 3,200 passing yards and 30 touchdowns.
Can Justin Fields have the same impact for Ohio State that Lawrence had on Clemson?
It is to be noted that Fields isn’t stepping into a situation where his head coach has a championship pedigree (Ryan Day is a rookie head coach) or one where he will have to sit behind a veteran behind getting his snaps (Fields is expected to start at OSU). However it should also be noted that Ohio State isn’t just any slouch even with a rookie head coach at the helm as they’ve won three of the last five Big Ten titles. The Buckeyes are by far the most consistent team in the Big Ten as they are usually top five annually in recruiting and they’re returning a handful of skill players including J.K. Dobbins, Austin Mack, and K.J. hill who will certainly help Fields out by making plays on the perimeter.
The aforementioned skill players have never played with a quarterback as dynamic as Fields either. Hell, Ohio State hasn’t seen a quarterback as dynamic as Fields since Braxton Miller honestly, and that’s no shade to what J.T. Barrett was able to do pre-injury. Dobbins played with Barret and last year’s starter Dwayne Haskins and i’m sure that even he’ll tell you that Fields isn’t as polished of a passer as the two but in terms of athleticism, he tops the two easily.
We haven’t even touched on Ohio State’s defense which is expected to see little to no drop-off despite losing a number of multi-year starters. Fields will be able to benefit heavily from a defense that is able to get off the field on third downs, reminiscent to how Clemson, Alabama and even UGA help their dynamic QB’s get the most out of their abilities. Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper headline the defensive starters who will be a big help to Fields’ first season success at Ohio State.
As long as Justin Fields is able to stay healthy and use his dynamic playmaking ability to win ball games then Ohio State will be just fine and probably be back to their 2014 national championship form.