Quinn Ewers will join Ohio State in 2021, after reclassifying on Monday.
Drawn in by the new name, image, and likeness rules, the top-rated quarterback in the 2022 class will now join the Buckeyes right before fall camp starts.
Ewers is walking into a talented quarterback room. C.J. Stroud is the projected starter by most estimations, but Kyle McCord still has a chance to supplant him. Jack Miller is a four star player who has a year in the system, and he could do some damage with this Buckeye offense.
So the question is, will Ewers be a factor in the Ohio State quarterback competition for the 2021 season?
If Ewers comes as advertised, then he will only be in Columbus for three years (provided he doesn’t transfer, which is probably more likely than him staying for a fourth season). If Stroud wins the competition like we all think he’s going to, then Ewers could start in 2023, but 2022 will be in question.
In order to maximize Ewers’ production, Ryan Day will want to start him as soon as possible. Will that be 2021?
Will Quinn Ewers Be In The Ohio State Quarterback Race In 2021?
How Justin Fields And Trevor Lawrence Did It
Two recent examples of quarterbacks coming in and making an early impact are from the top two of the 2018 recruiting class: Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence.
Fields transferred to Ohio State in the Spring of 2019, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist by the end of the season. That’s a pretty quick turnaround, and a possible blueprint for Ewers.
However, Fields had already spent a year at Georgia by that point, and had some considerable playing time there. He had already adjusted to the level of competition, and all he needed to do at Ohio State was learn the system and the verbiage.
Ohio State also needed Fields, as Tate Martell had transferred. The only quarterback left on the roster was Chris Chugunov, who had just transferred from West Virginia the previous year. The Buckeyes had to go back to the transfer portal to pick up some depth with Gunnar Hoak and Jagger LaRoe. In other words, Fields was really the only choice to be the starter.
Lawrence is a shining example of a true freshman quarterback, going 11-0 as a starter and winning a National Championship.
Like Fields, Lawrence also enrolled in the spring before he started. He got that extra time in the system, and actually looked great in the Spring Game. Also like Fields, the competition around Lawrence was weak. Kelly Bryant was the incumbent starter, and was given the starting role because of his accomplishments the previous season. However, Bryant struggled in the Spring Game, which bled into the regular season. Lawrence was inserted when Bryant’s struggles became too much to bear, and the rest is history.
Again, Lawrence was clearly a tier above the competition at Clemson.
Can Ewers Follow In Their Footsteps?
From both cases, both Fields and Lawrence had something that Ewers does not: time in the system and weak competition.
Both Fields and Lawrence both played in the Spring Game before the season. That means they got a full 14 practices leading up to it, along with about a month at team facilities going to meetings, working out, and studying film.
Stroud already put in a full season in 2020, albeit as a backup. But he still got a full season’s worth of practices, and since the Buckeyes played for a National Championship, they had more practices than mostly every other team in the country. He’s put in his time, which makes him the logical candidate.
McCord enrolled early at Ohio State, and has already had a full spring.
Not only does this help their own development, but it gives them an advantage over Ewers, since they don’t have to spend the fall learning a new system. They can concentrate their efforts elsewhere while Ewers focuses on learning the playbook.
At Ohio State in 2019, Chugunov and Hoak were both three-star recruits, as were Bryant and Chase Brice at Clemson in 2018. Lawrence and Fields were the first and second recruits in their entire class, respectively.
Now, Ohio State has Stroud and McCord, who were both highly recruited. Stroud was a four-star by 247Sports Composite, but was the second pro-style quarterback in his class. McCord was a five-star recruit in the 2021 class. While Ewers is pretty much off the charts, Stroud and McCord can stand their own against him.
Day doesn’t have to put Ewers in this year. The Buckeyes can ride Stroud or McCord to a National Championship, allowing Ewers to get comfortable in the system.
Will Ewers Be A Factor For Ohio State In 2021?
The short answer is probably not. The door is not completely closed on Ewers, but he would have to have the best fall camp Day has ever seen.
That being said, once Ewers has put in a season, then he will be a force to reckon with. The quarterback competition in 2022 will be so exciting to watch. Even if Stroud wins a National Championship in 2021, he will have to earn his spot again the next year. With Stroud, Ewers, and McCord in 2022, College Football needs to look out for Ohio State.
Main Image courtesy USA Today