(Written by Johnny Lunsford)
While recording our latest episode of the Scarlet and Great Podcast, Florida Cory hit me with a surprising take that went completely against the grain. I know sometimes we (mostly me) try to paint Cory as some Neanderthal encapsulating all of Florida’s worst qualities and a belligerent fan. The truth is, however, he really is well thought in many (maybe all) of his takes. That is why this thought came as such of a surprise to me. Florida Cory isn’t in love with pursuing Justin Fields. No, this isn’t a fake Twitter rumor I’m spreading to generate laughter. He even said it on the podcast and elaborated why. Fields to Ohio State – No, Thanks.
For what it’s worth I ran a twitter poll that currently sits at 331 votes, showing 92% of you want Justin Fields at Ohio State even with what uncertainty it brings. To most people, that uncertainty is losing Tate Martell. However, as Florida Cory elaborates, it goes deeper than that. Don’t worry, Cory is completely aware that Fields is ranked higher by recruiting guru’s than Tate, and that his upside is a lot higher. It is not that Cory is in love with the idea of a lot of zone reads and returning to the old offense, or that he thinks Tate Martell is the next savior of Buckeye Football. The disconcerting idea is that with Fields’ tremendous upside, he could bring a terrible downside to the Buckeyes for the 2019 season. Let’s go through this doomsday scenario.
First Fields transfers to Ohio State, and according to the NCAA process, we do not know whether or not he will be granted an immediate eligibility waiver. This means there is not clarity on whether he will, or won’t have to sit out a year. With that uncertainty, Tate Martell likely transfers. It has been well documented that Tate has had frustrations with playing time to this point and I’m sure he is chomping at the bit to take command of this offense. You aren’t the All-USA Offensive Player of the Year by USA TODAY and a 247 recruit rated at .9739 because you are used to playing second fiddle and sitting on the bench. So even though Tate would have a chance to stay and compete with Matt Baldwin as the starter if the NCAA rules Fields ineligible to play right away, he probably won’t want to take that risk.
Now, keep in mind Dwan Mathis has already flipped to Georgia and the Buckeyes have no 2019 quarterback signed. Even if they grab one not named Fields, he likely won’t be of an elite caliber. This is where things start to look bleak. A first year head coach, at a program with unreasonably high expectations who is succeeding a legend in Urban Meyer, now has a starting quarterback of Matt Baldwin. Baldwin may very well prove to be a great player, but will he be ready after a red shirt season with very little first team reps and no game experience before he takes the helm at a powerhouse like Ohio State? A place where the fans demand you not to throw any incompletions, make any mistakes, let alone lose any games?
Cory sure was skeptical and I don’t know if I blame him. Behind Baldwin would be a QB room with Cory Curtis and Daniel Vanatsky. Know anything about those guys? Yeah, me neither. I certainly know I’m not attaching playoff hopes to them. Doesn’t exactly sound like a good way for Ryan Day to enter the 2019 season. Suddenly, Florida Cory’s case against going after Justin Fields sounds rather well thought, and intelligent. I’m not saying he’s changed my mind, but I certainly am given pause. In the end, you have to decide if Fields’ massive upside is worth potentially burning a season- An inaugural season for a head coach who just had his whistle and headset handed over to him by a living legend.
-Written by Johnny Lunsford (@ScarletGreatJL)
(Image via SB Nation)