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Football: Justin Fields moves forward after eligibility confirmed

Then-Georgia quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game against Massachusetts on Nov. 17, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Justin Fields is eligible for the 2019 season. And now he wants to be done talking about it.

“My dad always tells me that ‘you can’t get to where you are going by looking in the ‘rear view mirror.’ I’m ready to move forward and embrace the next season of my life,” Fields said in a statement. “I will not be speaking about my transfer again.”

This was the mentality the freshman took when speaking for the first time as an Ohio State quarterback.

When asked about his prospective eligibility on Wednesday, he said time and time again it was out of his control, saying he hopes to find out soon, so he could focus on his new team.

With the eligibility confirmed, Fields’ focus is now solely on filling the shoes of Dwayne Haskins: the Heisman candidate, who, after one season, is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

But that was his focus all along, which is something Fields was willing to admit about his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State.

I think I made more of a business decision,” Fields said. “Coach Day, he’s been in the NFL so he knows that it takes to get there. Just the offense and how successful it was last year, I just hope to do the same thing again.”

Fields said he describes himself as an exciting playmaker, one that can extend plays with his legs when they break down. He showed this in the 12 games he played with the Bulldogs last season, accumulating 328 yards through the air, 266 yards on the ground and eight total touchdowns in limited playing time.

However, when he got here, Fields said he was not immediately handed the reins of the Ohio State offense. With freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin in the room, who sat behind Haskins last season, Fields said he will have to earn the starting job.

“Coach Day didn’t promise me anything,” Fields said. “He told me I would have to come here and work for it. So I’m just looking forward to getting better.”

While waiting for his eligibility to be confirmed, Fields said he had been learning the Ohio State offense. He said, though it’s different from the pro-style offense Georgia runs, he is picking it up relatively quickly.

Fields said he is also getting used to the pre-progression reads, utilizing the wide receivers and their skill sets on the outside to make his job easier in the passing game.

To Day, this was the offense that Fields was excited about when he transferred to Ohio State.

“They want to be in an offense where they’re throwing at the high efficiency that we did last year, we’re throwing in an offense where it’s very pro style oriented, mixed in with the college run game, with [run-pass options]. We think we’re on the cutting edge that way,” Day said. “That’s the response we’re getting from a lot of quarterbacks around the country.”

When he decided to transfer from Georgia, Fields said Ohio State did not give him a sales pitch.

But the quarterback also said they really didn’t have to.

“Just going based off what Dwayne did last year and how much success he had in this offense, I felt like I could come in and hopefully do the same thing that he did,” Fields said.

WIth his eligibility confirmed for 2019, Fields now has the opportunity to do so.

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