The backgrounds changed, but the questions were the same for Dwayne Haskins.
Sitting in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Dwayne Haskins had to face the same inquiries about his future he did two weeks earlier at the Ohio State football facility in Columbus.
The sophomore quarterback still isn’t ready to say if the Rose Bowl against Washington will be his last game in scarlet and gray.
The media-savvy signal-caller is still not tipping his hand, either.
“I got to (January) 15th to make a decision, so I'm taking my time,” he said, insisting the same questions hadn’t started to get old yet.
“I'm not tired of it,” he said with a laugh. “I feel like I've got to make a decision faster, but I’m definitely just excited to be in the position to make a decision, so a lot of people dream about playing in the NFL and people don't really get to achieve that, so I'm one of the few people that get to, so I'm just taking it all in.”
One thing that has changed: Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert announced he will return to school for another year, leaving Haskins as the best player available at his position in the eyes of many talent evaluators.
But Haskins said that doesn’t matter to him, either.
“I thought he was the best quarterback in the country regardless of what Herbert did,” Haskins said. “I'm happy he made that decision for himself, but his decision had nothing to do with me. I'm just blessed to be a Buckeye, whether that's coming back or not, it's just a great opportunity for me.
“I wasn't shocked by (Herbert’s decision). I talk to my teammates about it all the time, come back, win the national championship, win the Heisman Trophy are always great things to think about. A lot on my mind now.”
Ryan Day, who is Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach until the Rose Bowl but is set to take over for Urban Meyer as head coach when that game is over, said he has had discussions with Haskins about the quarterbacks’ future.
He anticipates having more, but not yet.
“We said we're going to get through this game and go win the Rose Bowl and then have a little bit further discussions there,” Day said. “But there's a lot involved with it. Obviously he has his family that he trusts and loves and some other people that he'll go to for advice. But we want what's best for Dwayne. And as a coach, you want to make sure you're doing that. This is not self-serving in any way where you start talking somebody into coming back just because it's self-serving for the program or for me.
“That being said, we obviously are going to present all the reasons why it would be great for him to come back.”
Haskins already seems aware of those things, having confirmed the idea of returning to be a conquering hero and perhaps win one of the highest-profile trophies in sports appeals to him, but he boiled it down to something more simple.
“The biggest thing is what do I want to do, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said before also confirming he does not see either choice being the wrong one in the long run.
“I feel like I’ll be fine staying or coming back.”
In a bit of a weird twist, Haskins also spoke about one of his potential replacements if he does go to the NFL.
Not current Ohio State reserve quarterbacks Tate Martell or Matthew Baldwin (that wouldn’t be weird) but rather Justin Fields, a freshman at Georgia who is reportedly interesting in transferring to Ohio State.
Haskins and Fields know each other from working out together with Atlanta-based quarterback guru Quincy Avery.
“I would say he’s a freak of nature,” Haskins said of Fields. “Dude is like 6-3, 230 (pounds), rocked up, like a freak athlete. But he’s a really great person, too.
“I worked out with him and Deshaun (Watson) over the summer and you can just see how much he wants to learn and how much he’s willing to commit himself to being great. He’s a great kid. I don’t know what he’s doing right now. He hit me up earlier, but he’s waiting to see what I’m doing. I don’t know what he’s gonna do yet.”
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