The final score of the spring game Saturday mattered little because the three quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell — switched back and forth between the Gray and Scarlet teams.
For what it’s worth, the Gray won 37-14, punctuating the victory at Ohio Stadium with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Burrow to Demario McCall on the final play. Now the question becomes: Was that Burrow’s last play with the Buckeyes?
No one knows that answer — even Burrow, who has a tough decision to make if Haskins wins the starting job.
“I came here to play,” Burrow said. “I didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years. I know I’m a pretty darn good quarterback, and I want to play somewhere.”
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After the game, coach Urban Meyer said he had not decided who would start at quarterback for the Buckeyes in 2018. He and his assistants will review all the data from the spring before making a decision.
If Ohio State doesn’t pick a quarterback now and moves the decision to the preseason practices in August, Burrow said, “I would have to have conversations with my family, my coaches and my friends.” He may decide to transfer somewhere where he knows he would start instead of facing the uncertainty at Ohio State.
Burrow has two years of eligibility remaining and already redshirted as a freshman in 2016. He will graduate in June, so he can play right away if he does leave Ohio State. He wanted that option on the table if he didn’t win the starting job. In the meantime, he has pursued that job with everything he has. He said he played as well this spring as he could.
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“I’ve heard for three years I’m never going to play here and end up transferring and that I’m not good enough to play here,” Burrow said. “I just sit back and put my nose to the grindstone and work. That’s what I’ve done for three years, and I think I’ve come a long way.”
Burrow put up the best passing numbers in the spring game, completing 15 of 22 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns. Haskins completed 9 of 19 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Haskins, of course, has a good argument to start. He backed up J.T. Barrett last fall as a redshirt freshman, and when the team needed him the most, he led the Buckeyes to a comeback victory on the road at Michigan in the regular-season finale.
Haskins has three seasons of eligibility remaining and said Saturday he feels he should be the guy.
“I feel I’ve done enough,” Haskins said, “but enough is never enough. You’ve got to keep going. I’m going to keep pushing myself, keep pushing my teammates.”
Meyer emphasized how important intangibles — leadership ability, for example — will be in who Ohio State picks. That’s an area Haskins has worked to improve.
“I feel I’ve done a great job being a leader, having great demeanor and energy,” Haskins said. “I’m a laid-back type of guy. For coach Meyer, the biggest thing is competing, and I think I’ve done a great job of showing that this spring.”