But he’s also stepping into a battle at the quarterback position unlike any other college football has ever seen. And on top of that, he also had to patch up a relationship with one recruit upon his hiring while also helping secure a pledge from the most dynamic member of Ohio State’s 2015 class.
In other words, this was a unique and complicated opportunity, one Beck couldn’t help but latch onto after spending the last seven years at Nebraska.
“Growing up in Ohio, it's a dream come true to be able to come here and work with Coach Meyer and really all the staff,” he said Wednesday. “These guys do a great job. And the culture and the program, and it's what I believe in. I'm really excited.”
It took just one question, though, for Beck to find a query about having a two-time Big Ten MVP in Braxton Miller, the Big Ten’s all-time record holder in single-season touchdowns in J.T. Barrett and a national championship winner in Cardale Jones on the roster.
Other than confirming he expects Miller to be back on the roster for a fifth year in 2015, that will be a battle for another day as National Signing Day happened to be the first chance for Beck to meet with the media. And he got the chance to talk about both Joey Burrow and Torrance Gibson, a pair of four-star quarterback signees, after they put pen to paper Wednesday.
It gives the Buckeyes six quarterback options on scholarship in 2015 when redshirt freshman Stephen Collier is added in, and the fact the Buckeyes brought in two quarterbacks in one class could spell a controversy down the road.
But for now, Beck is merely happy to have such depth at his disposal, with everything else set to be figured out later.
“You never know,” Beck said. “One play away, you never know. Cardale Jones is going to win a national title for you, right? You just never know. That's what you tell them. And they're going to develop under Coach Meyer's system here, and what he's done wherever he went, quarterbacks have been extremely successful. And I think they saw that.”
Gibson was one of the stars of the show having earned a final ranking of No. 52 in the nation and fifth among quarterbacks. His path to OSU included being rated as one of the top athletes and quarterbacks in the nation throughout his recruitment. Gibson took an official visit to Ohio State in September, committed in November, visited Auburn, LSU and Miami during the weeks prior to National Signing Day and then concluded he should stick with his pledge.
He is known for his incredibly athletic nature as well as an arm that needs to develop consistency, something Beck looks forward to instilling.
“I think he's a special player with the ball in his hand, there's no question about it,” Beck said. “He’s able to make the players around look better. He's able to move the offense. Like all quarterbacks, even the guys that we have here, there's still some mechanical things or technique things or knowledge things that they still have to pick up in order to function at the highest level that they can … but athleticism, talent-wise, intangibles-wise, he’s a winner.”
The situation with Burrow, who flew under the radar in recruiting circles until committing to Ohio State in May, was a different deal. The southeast Ohio star’s father played and coached at Nebraska and his stepbrothers also played for the Cornhuskers, but Burrow was not offered a scholarship by Nebraska when Beck was there.
Beck had to take a trip to Athens to meet with Burrow to assuage any possible lingering issues, something he did in mid-January with excellent results.
“It was more discussing than smoothing over,” said Beck, who pointed out Nebraska already had earned a pledge from a QB commit before looking at Burrow. “When you're working at a university you obviously support the university and what's going on. And once we made the change and we came here we were able to disclose a little bit how the process took place, the numbers, how we were recruiting, who we were getting, those types of things.
“I think once they saw that and saw that it was again, here's what happened, I think they felt comfortable. As we got to know, I know they know, they felt really good about it.
One thing is for sure – the four-star QB passes the look test to head coach Urban Meyer.
“Tom Herman went down there, and I don't know if he's highly rated or not,” Meyer said, referencing the offensive coordinator who left to coach Houston this offseason. “But I remember he sent me a screen into his phone as he's watching this kid throw. He said, I found your next Alex Smith. And you meet the kid and his family, and it's A1A. He's a competitor, he wins. He wins at football. He wins at basketball. He's a coach's son. We're real impressed with him.”
That gives Ohio State one new coach and two new recruits to a room that already includes three previous starters and four total scholarship players. How the math works out remains to be seen, but Beck hopes his return to his home state will work out for the best.