Friday, June 18
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Skull Session: Ohio State is Soon-To-Be QBU, Justin Fields is on a Mission, and Sean Clifford Has Some Confide – Eleven Warriors

One more sleep, y’all. You can do it.

Word of the Day: Cull.

 TURNING INTO QBU. When those lists come out every offseason ranking the best program at producing NFL talent at each position, there isn’t a soul arguing that Ohio State even belongs in the discussion as QBU.

Before Dwayne Haskins in 2019, Ohio State hadn’t produced a first-round quarterback since 1983 and the most successful former Buckeye quarterback in NFL history is currently a free agent wide receiver.

But Ryan Day’s changing that perception in a hurry.

“Ryan designs less for the quarterback to run than Urban might have,” said Tressel, Ohio State’s head coach from 2001 to 2010. “Urban liked the quarterback run and had a lot of success doing it. There’s a lot of ways to get it done, but when you’ve got a guy who can throw it like Fields can or Burrow or Haskins, you’d just as soon they’d throw it rather than run it.”

Haskins’ success in 2018 changed the view of Ohio State’s quarterback position. “That’s when quarterbacks, they were almost calling us,” Meyer said. Pantoni noticed that quarterback prospects and their parents became less concerned about the injury risk Ohio State’s offense posed.

Day’s impact translated to recruiting, as Ohio State added C.J. Stroud, ESPN’s No. 2 pocket passer in the 2020 class, and Jack Miller, ESPN’s No. 16 pocket passer.

The most important eyes watching Haskins belonged to a quarterback Ohio State didn’t secure through recruiting. Fields was the nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2018 when he signed with Georgia. But after a frustrating freshman season, Fields chose to transfer and picked Ohio State.

In his first news conference as a Buckeye, Fields explained his decision, saying of Day, “He knows what it takes to get quarterbacks to the NFL.”

“We got Justin in the transfer,” Wilson said. “I don’t know if that would have happened if Dwayne wouldn’t have been here.”

And Day’s got five-star Kyle McCord locked up in the 2021 class with Quinn Ewers, the No. 2 overall player in the 2022 class, presumably heading to Ohio State next (spoilers, sorry).

Maybe Ohio State’s not QBU in the classic sense, but it sure seems like the Buckeyes are QBU in the eyes of every elite quarterback making their college decisions. If you’d like to know which is more important, just take a gander at USC.

 MAN ON A MISSION. Justin Fields didn’t have to play another down of college football to lock up his status as a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft, but that he’s back because ain’t what this season is about.

He’s on a mission to complete some unfinished business and set the record straight.

“The man is returning, like going back in time to get the infinity stones so he’s got one more shot at this thing like in End Game.”

“Justin Fields is playing college football expressly to finish what he started – the job is not done.”

Damn, is it game day yet?

 CLIFFORD FEELING IT. Penn State’s had Ohio State’s number the past decade or so. And by that, I mean that they’ve been consistently losing, but losing by fewer points than seemingly everybody else in the Big Ten.

To be totally fair, “I almost beat Ohio State many times!” is far more than most other programs can say, but it’s not good enough for Sean Clifford.

It’s a noble and respectable stance on the matter, really.

But unfortunately for Clifford, he’s actually not going to do either of those things on Saturday, especially when the extent of Penn State’s home-field advantage this year is that Ohio State might still have to do its pregame walkthrough in a damn parking lot because our football team is larger than your town.

I appreciate the confidence, but we all know how this is going to end. Stop kidding yourself.

 “PRETTY TERRIFYING.” We’re going to get our “status report” as usual around 10 a.m. this morning, but Ohio State’s not actually going to be completely sure which players will be available for tomorrow’s game until tomorrow morning in State College when they do their final round of COVID-19 tests.

If that sounds kind of terrifying to you, you’re not alone!

My method of coping with this insanity so far has basically just been to just assume that everything is going to be fine and Ohio State won’t have to deal with any positive tests. But I’m gonna be honest, Trevor Lawrence’s positive test has me a little spooked now.

If the most high-profile name in college football can test positive and potentially miss his team’s biggest regular-season game in years, nobody’s invincible.

But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

 HOW TO LOSE YOUR JOB. As much as I like to rag on Texas Tom, let’s be real here – there’s no shame in losing a prospect to Ohio State. It happens to everyone all across the country, and it’s not like the Buckeyes don’t have a strong Texas pipeline anyway.

However, losing the top overall player in the class (and two other players due to collateral damage) in part because you trashed him behind his back and made no effort to fix it… Yeah, that’ll get you canned.

Crazy, it’s 2020 and Tom Herman’s still helping Ohio State with quarterback recruiting.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A podcast appearance could land a mobster-turned-witness behind bars again… The United States contractors abandoned in Kuwait… Prior to a fatal crash, a driver said he drives better when drunk… Inside the bizarre, secret meeting between Malcolm X and the Ku Klux Klan… How a secretive phone company helped the crime world go dark…

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