Unless you have been living under a rock the past couple days, I’m sure you have heard by now that Matthew Baldwin entered his name into the mystical transfer portal and is no longer on the team. It caught everybody by surprise, but Baldwin and reporters claimed that he was homesick and is looking to transfer to a program closer to his home state of Texas. With Baldwin now gone from the program, it makes three quarterbacks that have transferred since last year. However, some reporters have said their stories are the same, and well, they are not. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing why we as fans need to root for or against a certain one.
First off was Joe Burrow. Of the three quarterbacks to transfer out, Burrow seemingly is getting the most love from the Buckeye faithful. He waited his turn and battled it out as long as he could, and eventually lost the job to Haskins. He seemed like he really wanted to be a Buckeye, but came to the realization that he would not be the starter, and transferred to LSU, a team that so desperately needed just average quarterback play.
Burrow returns to LSU this season, with a successful first season to build off. Whether or not you want to cheer for LSU, a SEC team, is up to you. Many fans have wished Burrow the best, but are not actively cheering for a LSU team. And that’s fine, there is nothing wrong with that.
Again, all three of these quarterbacks have different circumstances, and Martell is no different. Just like Burrow, Martell did wait patiently for his turn to run the offense. The Buckeye staff tried hard to keep him focused and engaged in the game plan, due to rumors that he had tried to transfer from the program before.
However, with Haskins declaring, it was a Martell and Baldwin battle with most probably expecting Tate to win. Then Justin Fields came into play, and the coaching staff of course jumped right on that and now Fields is obviously a Buckeye. Martell said that he was not scared of competition and that Fields was not just going to come into this offense and take his job. Plenty of fans loved that attitude, but once Fields came, Martell was gone.
In one sense, I see where Martell is coming from. He wanted to leave earlier in his career, and the staff got him to stay. And then Meyer retired, and Day took over, who seemingly likes the big pro passer quarterback more than a dual threat guy in Martell. Then, you think you are going to be the guy, and then bam, Justin Fields is here. Nothing is promised in college football, but can you really blame Martell for being upset? I know I can’t.
However, it seemed like it came down to how it was done. Many fans did not like how Martell ran his mouth online. Combine that with the fact that Miami, his new school, is not a program that Buckeye fans have in high regards. I’m sure many fans would love to see a Miami team take down Clemson and make the ACC more competitive, but there does not seem to be a lot of Buckeye fans that are actively cheering for Martell. Again, if you want to cheer for him, by all means do it. I have no problem hoping he does well and stays healthy, but I’m not going to go out of my way to tune in to Miami games.
And of course, the new one. Coming into the spring game, Day said that it was still an open quarterback race, but mostly everybody knew it was Fields’ job to lose. Still, Baldwin had reportedly made some huge strides, and made some nice plays in the spring game. So when the news came out that he was leaving, fans were shocked.
There are plenty of things to examine here. First, he said he was homesick. I know a lot of fans aren’t completely sold on that being the reason, but I’m sure there’s truth to it. We’ll see if he transfers to a program like a Texas Tech or Houston, the jury is still out on that one.
Another thing that seemed to bug fans was that he is a redshirt freshman. He spent last season recovering from a torn ACL injury from high school, so fans never really saw an open close look at him until the spring game. The next is the way that he was recruited. He was a Colorado State commit until Day found him and got him to come to the Buckeyes. His offer list was not filled with Power 5 teams, but check the tape and the kid could play. Must fans felt the staff found a diamond in the rough, and a potential star in the making. And then to just “bail” on the team that gave you the chance at a powerhouse program? That’s what has bothered a lot of fans. He knew he wasn’t going to play right away, but most fans felt there was a plan intact to start for a season or two after Fields had left Ohio State.
But that’s the landscape of college football right now. Do I think it’s wild that Baldwin left now and at this time, yes definitely. But we’ve seen Shea Patterson, Justin Fields, and Tate Martell get clearance now. It’s truly free agency. So if you’re Baldwin, do you really want to wait two more years until you’re the starter? Of course, all it takes is one bad hit and Baldwin is in the game, but is that the situation he wants to be in? Combine being homesick with that, and Baldwin knows he has a clearer path to starting somewhere else. When you look at it in that perspective, I’m really not shocked he’s gone. I always felt he would eventually transfer, just not this early in his career.
So again, if you want to follow Baldwin’s career and next path, do it. Nobody is going to blame you if you were a fan of his in high school and as a Buckeye. And if you felt maybe he wasn’t truly a Buckeye because he never made an on the field impact in the public eye, that is your choice too.
But I’m so tired of reporters and fans telling Buckeye fans who they have to root for or against. “Oh well if you root for Burrow, you have to root for Baldwin now.” No, each of these three quarterbacks journey’s have been different at Ohio State. Yes, they all eventually did leave the program at the end of the day, but that is the only comparison besides the position. You can hope Burrow puts up good numbers at LSU, but not actually cheer for LSU. It’s not that hard to do. If Baldwin ends up in the Big 12, I hope he takes down Oklahoma and Texas because those are programs Ohio State has history with. But I’m not going to be making sure I tune into his games because Baldwin was a former Buckeye and I feel obligated to.
So at the end of the day, actively cheer or root for them as much or as less as you want. As long as you are not tweeting at them on social media, you are fine. It does not make you more of less of a Buckeye fan if you tune into a LSU game, but not Martell’s Miami prime time game. Ohio State has Justin Fields. Let’s rally behind him.
(Image via Toledo Blade)