Would a quarterback worth $1 million in endorsement deals be willing to skip his senior season to sit the bench?
We’re talking college football, of course.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Wednesday that five-star quarterback prospect Quinn Ewers, who is committed to Ohio State, is contemplating that decision over the next week. Yahoo reports Ewers “has the potential to earn nearly a million dollars in the next year by profiting off his Name Image and Likeness.”
Ewers’ decision could have a wide-ranging impact on Name Image and Likeness, recruiting and potentially the Buckeyes’ quarterback room in 2021.
Who is Ewers? Sporting News takes a closer look:
Who is Quinn Ewers?
Ewers, 18, is a senior at Southlake Carroll, a Texas high school powerhouse. The 6-3, 202-pound quarterback is a five-star quarterback with a 0.9999 rating on 247Sports.com. He is the top recruit in the class of 2022.
Of the 16 five-star quarterbacks from 247Sports.com since 2018, Ewers is tied with former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence for the highest ranking.
Five-star QBs since 2018
|1(t)||Quinn Ewers||2022||Ohio State||0.9999|
|12||Connor Weigman||2022||Texas A&M||0.9869|
|14||Kyle McCord||2021||Ohio State||0.9860|
The highlight-reel is predictably impressive, too. Here are some of Ewers’ throws from the Elite 11 Dallas Regional in 2021:
Why is Ewers’ getting NIL offers?
You saw the hair, right? Ewers has a long blond mullet, and his celebrity in football-crazy Texas has taken off. Ewers has 83,000 followers on Instagram despite just 19 posts.
Texas high school rules prohibit student-athletes from profiting off Name, Image and Likeness. Thamel reports Holy Kombucha, a local company that sells several variations of organic tea, is among those offering Ewers endorsement deals.
Ewers is going to get the opportunities that Lawrence would have received in college and has the potential to be the first true NIL superstar. Perhaps he can get ahead of the curve by skipping his senior season.
After all, Arch Manning, the top quarterback in the class of 2023, will be coming soon.
Why is Ewers allowed to play at Ohio State?
Yahoo Sports reports Ewers is in position to take one core English class and graduate high school early, which would allow him to be eligible to play at Ohio State for the 2021 season.
The Buckeyes report to fall camp on Aug. 3.
This practice is more common in basketball, but five-star North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes reclassified last season to get a head start with the Tar Heels.
JT Daniels was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the 2019 recruiting class. He reclassified to 2018 and started as a freshman with USC. He went 5-6 as a starter and threw 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Daniels tore his ACL as a sophomore and transferred to Georgia. He is being counted on to lead the Bulldogs to an SEC championship in 2021.
Jake Bentley is another example. Bentley skipped his senior season of high school for a shot to start at South Carolina in 2016. Bentley went 4-3 in seven starts with 9 TDs and 6 INTs in what would have been his senior year of high school. He played four seasons at South Carolina before transferring to Utah. He is now a Super Senior quarterback at South Alabama.
What is Ohio State’s QB situation?
Ohio State has a three-way quarterback race. C.J. Stroud, a redshirt freshman who backed up Justin Fields last season, is the only one with playing experience. Redshirt freshman Jack Miller and five-star recruit Kyle McCord also are in the mix.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said the three-way race is open heading into fall camp.
“It’s even to me,” Day said at Big Ten Media Days on July 23. “We’ll see how these guys have changed over the last few months. I think they’ve all done a really good job. Their bodies look like they’ve changed, they’ve gotten stronger, they’ve gotten faster. We’ll have a better idea once we get on the field and start practicing.”
Day mentioned evaluating the quarterbacks based on the 15 spring practices and the upcoming fall camp.
Could Ewers start at Ohio State this year?
It is a value decision that will have ramifications at the high school and college levels.
“I’m leaning toward leaving and going up to Ohio, just so I don’t have to deal with UIL stuff and can get comfortable with Ohio and Columbus and start to learn,” Ewers told Yahoo Sports.
Ewers would have serious catch-up work to do, but Ohio State just signed five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau this summer. He could make an impact this season, too.
If Ewers chooses the NIL endorsements over his senior season in high school, then that could set a trend for future five-star recruits. Like we said, Manning will be arriving soon, too.
As for Ohio State, would a seven-figure quarterback really be the third-stringer? Some NFL quarterbacks would not sit the bench for that much money.
That is something to keep in mind when Ewers makes his decision. If Ewers shows up for fall camp, then it stands to reason he could at least compete for the starting job.