Quarterback Quinn Ewers surprised Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on Dec. 3 when he informed him he planned to enter the transfer portal and leave the program.
Ewers spent only four months with the Buckeyes after graduating a year early from Southlake (Texas) Carroll Senior High School, reclassifying to the 2021 class and arriving on campus at the beginning of August.
“It caught me for sure a little bit off guard,” Day said on Sunday.
According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Ewers was the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Ohio State. The 6-3, 230-pound quarterback was the No. 1 overall prospect for 2022 before he reclassified and was the top-ranked quarterback and player from Texas.
While not the only factor present in his decision to become a Buckeye, Ewers came to campus a month after the NCAA adopted a rule allowing student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness. He would not have received the same financial opportunity in Texas, as the state does not for high school students to profit from NIL, so Ewers positioned himself to earn money in endorsements and other partnerships in Columbus.
Ewers was the fourth-string on the depth chart in 2021, appearing in only one game with the Buckeyes. Last month, he came in with little more than a minute left in a 56-7 rout of Michigan State, twice lining up behind center late in the blowout and handing the ball off both times to walk-on running back Robert Cope.
He’s expected to transfer to a school closer to his hometown in suburban Dallas, with Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech showing interest.
“I think he was in a very unique situation for sure,” Day said, “and we wish him nothing but the best of luck moving forward. But boy, there’s just a lot that’s going on right now in college football, whether it’s early enrollees or the transfer portal and those types of things. We’re just going to do the best we can to try to adapt as time moves on.”
The Buckeyes only have two scholarship quarterbacks between redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud and true freshman Kyle McCord ahead of their game with Utah in the Rose Bowl. While it is enough for Ohio State to compete in the matchup, Day said his preference is to hold three or four quarterbacks on scholarship heading into the offseason.
Devin Brown, a four-star quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class, will be the third following his verbal commitment, but he isn’t joining the program until next season.
“A lot of guys want to play,” Day said, “and I get it, so we’ll just try to do the best we can to forecast it. We feel really good about the guys we have on our roster right now.”