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Expectations already are soaring for Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Ohio State football: Way-too-early projections for Buckeyes QB Dwayne Haskins

Austin Ward

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The first half of this scenario seems likely to play out in the most straightforward way possible. Ohio State may not be in a rush to reveal a depth chart by the end of spring practice, but if Joe Burrow has decided to leave his options open and compete with the program through the end of camp, he almost certainly will know where he stands in the pecking order. If it appears that both Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell are going to be ahead of him this fall, the safe bet is that Burrow then would elect to use his ability to transfer as a graduate and find somewhere he can start. That probably won’t be all that difficult for somebody with his skills and experience.

The second half, of course, is going to take a bit more guesswork. Haskins deservedly is the favorite to take over the starting job from J.T. Barrett after the work he delivered as a backup and the unforgettable performance off the bench to lead the comeback victory in The Game at Michigan. And his ability to stretch the field ―combined with his command of the attack, solid accuracy and underrated mobility ― all point to Haskins being the right guy for Ohio State as the offense looks to take the next step with the passing game.

That fact is starting to catch on nationally, as well, with his name being added to the preseason Heisman Trophy lists, which in turn will lead to more NFL scouts coming in for a closer look at his physical tools and projecting how he’ll translate to the professional level. And thanks to his redshirt season, Haskins would be eligible to declare for the draft at this time next year if he delivers the kind of prolific campaign that he appears capable of ― particularly with so much talent returning around him.

Ohio State-Tate Martell-Dwayne Haskins-Urban Meyer-Buckeyes-football-redshirts
Tate Martell’s performance in spring practice could make a big impact. (David Jablonski/Cox Media Group)

It’s obviously ridiculously early to speculate on that potential at this point before he’s even started a game at Ohio State, even though it only took one half of action against the Wolverines for me to start comparing him to Cardale Jones. But if the passing attack truly does explode as expected, and the Buckeyes win another Big Ten title and find themselves in the College Football Playoff, there certainly figures to be a decision for Haskins to make about his future if that all plays out this season. Hypothetically, there will be the usual questions about if he’s put together a large enough body of work or whether any big numbers are just a product of Urban Meyer’s system, and those will be discussions for a much later date.

But if Haskins puts himself in position to make a jump to the NFL and the first half of this way-too-early scenario plays out, then it will be fully time to prepare for the Tate Martell Experience. And then we can begin making wild projections about his first year as a starter next January.

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