Ohio State’s quarterback room is about to get a bit thinner.
The Buckeyes already lost backup Jack Miller to the transfer portal, and now Quinn Ewers, the top quarterback prospect in the Class of 2021, is leaving Columbus as well, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported Friday.
Sources: Top-ranked 2021 quarterback Quinn Ewers has informed Ohio State that he’s entering the transfer portal. Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are among the considerations for his next stop. https://t.co/SLZdtGIyNp
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 3, 2021
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Ewers made headlines not only for his play as a high schooler in his native Texas but also for reclassifying to attend Ohio State to reap the benefits of the NCAA’s new NIL (name, image and likeness) policy.
The reclassification worked out for Ewers, who reportedly signed a $1.4 million deal in August before ever suiting up for Ryan Day’s program. Ultimately, Ewers took just two snaps in scarlet and gray. Both came at the end of Ohio State’s 56-7 rout of Michigan State on Nov. 20; he handed the ball off both times.
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Still, fans were excited for Ewers to even enter the game.
Sporting News takes a look at Ewers’ journey from San Antonio to Columbus and what’s next for him:
Why is Quinn Ewers transferring from Ohio State?
Despite coming in as a prolific passer from the football hotbed of Texas, Ewers failed to make an impact for the Buckeyes.
Ewers reclassified from the 2022 class to the 2021 class (more on that later) and in the process joined Ohio State’s fall camp two weeks late, enrolling on Aug. 15 of this year. Ohio State coach Ryan Day routinely said that Ewers was behind in his development and needed more time.
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“I think he would tell you that it’s been hard for him kind of jumping into this thing during the preseason and then being out for a little bit of a stretch,” Day said in September. “We’re trying to get him as much information as we can, but there’s a lot of catching up to be done there.”
As time went on, the prospects of Ewers playing didn’t seem to improve, even if his development did. He eventually became the third-stringer behind starter C.J. Stroud and backup Kyle McCord.
While no reason was given in Thamel’s report for Ewers’ transfer, it’s reasonable to assume that a prospect of his caliber would want to go somewhere he can start right away.
Why did Quinn Ewers reclassify?
Ewers hails from Texas, where high school athletes have been barred from profiting from their name, image and likeness. Because of that, Ewers — who was already the top QB prospect for the Class of 2022 — left high school early and reclassified to 2021 before enrolling at Ohio State.
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He was previously committed to Texas but left for Ohio State following Texas’ ban on prep players making NIL money, as well as uncertainty surrounding then-Longhorns coach Tom Herman. Ewers said as much at the time, though he also said that forgoing his senior season and reclassifying was not a solely financial decision.
The move worked out initially; Ewers reportedly received a $1.4 million deal for autographs that was supposed to run for three years. It was reportedly the third NIL deal Ewers signed.
Ewers became the highest-rated commit in the history of Ohio State’s program.
Where might Ewers transfer?
According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, the general sense is that Ewers will return home to the Lone Star State. Sources told Thamel that Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are among the possible landing spots.
The Longhorns finished 5-7 but got serviceable QB play from Casey Thompson, who completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,113 yards and 24 touchdowns to go with nine interceptions.
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Texas A&M pulled off an upset of Alabama this year and is 8-4, but the Aggies could use an upgrade at QB over Zach Calzada, who completed just over 56 percent of his passes and averaged only 182 passing yards per game.
Texas Tech is in the midst of a rebuild and just hired former Baylor associate head coach and linebackers coach Joey McGuire to lead the program. Pairing a potentially prolific quarterback with a defensive-minded coach like McGuire could lead to a host of different results, though McGuire was a successful Texas high school coach, going 141-42 from 2003-16.
Regardless of where Ewers transfers, this year was his redshirt season, meaning he’ll have four years of eligibility remaining at whatever school he suits up for next season.