COLUMBUS — There may have been more Dwayne Haskins wanted to accomplish at Ohio State. But the sky-high professional stock was simply too much to ignore.
The record-setting Ohio State quarterback is heading to the NFL Draft, officially making his intentions clear with a public announcement on Monday. Haskins had been open to the idea of a return and at several points suggested his decision could truly go either way, but the Buckeyes have been operating under the belief that he wouldn’t be back for quite some time now after watching him produce the greatest single-season effort at the position in school history.
Haskins left an indelible mark on Ohio State, there can be no question about that after leading the program to a Big Ten championship, a win in the Rose Bowl and earning a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist. And he’s got a legitimate claim to be considered the best passing quarterback the program has ever had, an argument that might get stronger if his rise eventually leads him to becoming the No. 1 overall draft pick.
— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) January 7, 2019
But there is also an element of wondering what might have been with Haskins, since Ohio State only got one season from him as a starter. The redshirt sophomore had indicated on a number of occasions that he wasn’t ready for the role until this year after sitting behind J.T. Barrett, and the chance to develop helped him prepare for his time in the spotlight. But for all the obvious potential in his rocket-powered right arm, his unique ability to process what defenses are doing against him and the maturity needed to handle the responsibility of the position — the Buckeyes obviously came into this season hoping they would get a second from him leading the attack.
That idea was appealing to Haskins, particularly when it came to competing for a national championship or taking another stab at winning the Heisman. But in the end, there was simply too much at stake for his professional future.
“Just really the decision is what do I want to do at the end of the day and haven’t made the decision yet,” Haskins said before the Rose Bowl. “But you know, there’s pros and cons that will outweigh each other with staying or leaving. I’ll be fine either way. The biggest thing is what I want to do. That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
“I feel like I’ll be fine staying or coming back.”
Eventually the scales tipped toward a departure. And in just one year, Dwayne Haskins left a legacy at Ohio State that will last a lifetime.