Quinn Ewers, the top-ranked high school football player in America for the Class of 2022, is skipping his senior year to enroll early at Ohio State. His father, Curtis Ewers, informed Yahoo Sports of his son's decision.
Ewers’ move to college marks one of the first major reverberations – and unintended consequences – of the NCAA passing legislation nearly a month ago to allow athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness. He’s expected to make nearly a million dollars in the next year from endorsements, which he can’t while playing high school football in Texas. Ewers will end up arriving to college in the class of 2021.
Prior to the NIL change, Ewers was headed into his senior season at Southlake Carroll High School, located outside Dallas. The school is a traditional power that reached the state final last season, plays in a 12,000-seat stadium and is scheduled to open its season in a nationally televised game played at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
Ewers, 18, will enter Ohio State as one of the most compelling recruits in school history. He’s inserting himself into a quarterback competition that’s wide open, as none of the three scholarship quarterbacks at Ohio State – Jack Miller, CJ Stroud and Kyle McCord — have attempted a college pass.
Ewers is expected to join the Ohio State program for summer training camp at some point in August. He is completing his coursework to graduate, which he has already begun taking online. Some ambiguity remains about precisely when he’ll be able to start practicing, as officially joining by the start of camp on Tuesday will be highly unlikely as he navigates the bureaucracy inherent to collegiate admissions and NCAA clearance. The expectation remains he’ll be able to get eligible at some point during camp.
On3 first reported that Ewers would leave high school early and head to Ohio State.
Ewers will arrive on campus with knowing hardly any aspect of the OSU offense. While it will be tempting to insert him as immediately competing for the starting job, there’s such a significant learning curve that reasonable expectation would be to see this as a year of development. He'll compete against three quarterbacks who have been on campus for at least six months, which gives them a considerable advantage. Ewers will have significant work ahead of him to catch up, as he needs to learn the playbook, mesh with new teammates and learn a completely new academic and social environment.
His raw talent is unquestioned, as he threw for 73 touchdowns and 6,445 yards in his two seasons as a starter. Ewers, 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, is considered in Texas recruiting circles the top quarterback talent in the state since Vince Young.
He’ll bring with him the distinction of being a trailblazer, although an unwilling one. Ewers is the first football prospect to hopscotch from high school to college early in order to take advantage of NIL. Whether that becomes a trend remains to be seen. Ewers and his family were clear in an earlier interview with Yahoo Sports that they wanted Ewers to play his senior year of high school and be able to capitalize off of his NIL. "We don’t need the money,” Quinn Ewers told Yahoo Sports recently. “It’s just the principle of it.”
The family disagreed with the ruling from the University Interscholastic Association, which runs Texas high schools. The UIL defended the ruling as an interpretation of the recent state law passed on name image and likeness. A UIL official told Yahoo: “We don’t make state law."
Among the deals now available to Ewers include cash and equity from Holy Kombucha, a local company. Ewers also had significant memorabilia deals lined up and interest from national companies.
His decision to leave high school football raises the question of whether the state of Texas, where Friday Night Lights are an indelible part of the culture, is now at a disadvantage at the highest levels because of the state rule. The ability to earn money off NIL remains on a state-by-state basis at the high school level. Texas is one of the few states with a law that explicitly forbids it.
That leaves Ewers in the quarterbacks room at Ohio State under coach Ryan Day, the former NFL quarterbacks coach who has helped OSU’s past two starting quarterbacks (Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins) develop into first-round NFL draft picks.
Ohio State is coming off back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances in Day’s first two seasons and are heavy favorites to win the Big Ten again in 2021.
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