You may or may not know the name Matthew Baldwin, and if not that’s okay. A 4-star recruit in the class of 2018, Baldwin started just one season at powerhouse Lake Travis High School in Austin, but that one season was enough to win him a scholarship to Ohio State.
Baldwin didn’t play last season as he redshirted behind Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell, but that was part of the plan. Haskins was so good that he, too, would likely be one-and-done as the Buckeyes’ starter (indeed, he would eventually become the 15th overall pick by the Washington Redskins), so sitting and watching in 2018 was all part of the plan. But then the plan broke and, 16 months after he enrolled at Ohio State, Baldwin’s story became the prototypical story of the state of quarterbacking at the FBS level in 2019.
Let’s follow this trail point by point.
1. After failing to beat out Jake Fromm in his true freshman season, Justin Fields, the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2018, transfers to Ohio State. He is granted immediate eligibility.
2. Despite openly challenging Fields to beat him out, Martell opts to leave Ohio State for Miami. Largely on grounds of “Have you seen Justin Fields’ highlight tape????,” Martell is granted immediate eligibility at Miami.
3. Baldwin competed with Fields throughout the spring but, seeing the writing on the wall, announced last month he, too, will leave Ohio State.
4. On Tuesday, 247Sports reported Baldwin has picked TCU. He will appeal for immediate eligibility. Since Martell’s waiver was approved, Baldwin’s should be, too, provided he hires the right lawyer. (Amateur sports!)
5. Why TCU? Yes, it’s close to home. But the Frogs also have an open depth chart after its incumbent, Shawn Robinson, transferred to Missouri.
6. Robinson will have to sit out the 2019 season, but that’s okay because Missouri has another transfer to play at quarterback this fall, Clemson graduate transfer Kelly Bryant.
7. At TCU, Baldwin will compete with four quarterbacks to win the starting job. Two are transfers: Graduate transfer Alex Delton, who played at Kansas State and initially committed to transfer to UTEP before flipping to the Frogs, and Alex Collins, a Penn transfer who backed up Robinson in 2018.
8. The other two players in TCU’s quarterback derby are redshirt freshman Justin Rogers and true freshman Max Duggan.
Based on what we just learned, who’s placing bets that Rogers and/or Duggan are still in TCU purple at this time next year?
There’s only one ball, and all quarterbacks (except one notable exception) want that ball in their hands and their hands alone, and they want it right now or they’re leaving — and, for now at least, the NCAA has been willing to help push them along, creating chain reactions like this one, where the failure to win a job at Georgia creates crises at Ohio State, and then TCU, and then wherever the loser(s) of TCU’s quarterback derby eventually transfer.