Quarterback Quinn Ewers surprised Ohio State coach Ryan Day last week when he informed him he was entering the NCAA transfer portal and leaving the program.
Ewers spent only four months with the Buckeyes after graduating a year early from Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas, and enrolling at the university in August.
“It caught me for sure a little bit off guard,” Day said on Sunday.
Viewed as a generational quarterback prospect and the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Ohio State, Ewers’ enrollment came a month after the NCAA adopted new rules allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, positioning him to earn seven figures in endorsements and other partnerships.
Such money-making opportunities were prohibited for high schoolers in Texas.
Situated as low as fourth-string on the depth chart, Ewers appeared in only one game with the Buckeyes, coming in with little more than a minute left in a 56-7 rout of Michigan State last month. Twice lining up behind center late in the blowout, he handed the ball off both times.
He’s expected to transfer to a school closer to his hometown in suburban Dallas.
“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 type of things. We’re just going to do the best we can to try to adapt as time moves on.”
The Buckeyes are left with only two scholarship quarterbacks between C.J. Stroud and backup Kyle McCord ahead of their matchup against Utah in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
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Day said his preference is to hold three or four quarterbacks on scholarship at a time.
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.
During Day’s first full season leading the Buckeyes in 2019, they had three scholarship quarterbacks with Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak backing up Justin Fields.
They held four last season and throughout this fall before redshirt freshman Jack Miller and Ewers entered the transfer portal last week.
“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.”
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Quinn Ewers transfer: Ohio State coach Ryan Day ‘little bit off guard’