The same three players were competing against one another for the second straight spring. This time there’s more at risk, especially for one player.
Entering the fourth spring game of his career, Ohio State redshirt junior Joe Burrow finally had something beyond the backup position to play for.
J.T. Barrett’s college career has ended and one of the three quarterbacks — Burrow, Dwayne Haskins or Tate Martell — will begin his own in 2018. Burrow believes he has taken the steps necessary to becoming the next starting quarterback for the Buckeyes in what he called his best offseason yet.”
Burrow felt he had taken a big step in proving his ability to become the next starting quarterback during what he called the best offseason he has had since arriving in Columbus.
“I think, this spring, I have played just about as well as I could,” Burrow said after the Spring Game. “I put everything I had into it.”
Now, head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff have a decision to make. For Burrow, this could determine not only his depth chart position but also his future at Ohio State.
The past three semesters, Burrow said he has loaded up his class schedule, allowing him to graduate in May and have the option to transfer and play immediately.
Capping off his spring by completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the Spring Game, Burrow said everything is on the table regarding his future.
“I came here to play,” Burrow said. “I didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years and I know I’m a pretty darn good quarterback and I want to play somewhere.”
For Burrow, the transfer rumors are nothing new.
“I’ve heard for three years that I am never going to play here,” Burrow said. “I’m going to end up transferring. I’m not good enough to play here. I just sit back, put my nose to the grindstone and work and that’s what I have done for three years and I’ve come a long way.”
Burrow, admittedly, felt apprehensive heading into the spring about his chances of earning the starting quarterback role after injuring his hand and watching Haskins take the backup job.
With the Spring Game behind him and the 2018 season ahead, Burrow must decide whether to stay or transfer — even if Meyer is not yet ready to make a quarterback decision. He said the next step will be evaluating his status with the coaching staff.
“You have to step back and evaluate everything with your coaches and see what they are thinking, what you are thinking and you have to, kind of, meet in the middle,” Burrow said.
Meyer said he saw progress from Burrow not just throughout the spring, but also from the first day he stepped on campus.
“He has to be one of the more improved quarterbacks as far as delivery speed and arm,” Meyer said. “He’s always been a very smart, tough guy and a very good leader, but his improvement is very notable over the past couple years.”
With spring practices complete, Burrow said he will not stress about his future.
“Now, you can kind of sit back and relax,” Burrow said. “You know the body of work that you had and I know I played very well and I took a step as a leader this spring as well. You kind of just have to take a step back and see how it plays out.”