For many young people in the state of Ohio, coming to Ohio State for college is a dream. For the more athletic young people, playing football at Ohio State is a much bigger, but rarely realized one.
While he may not have grown up in Ohio, Dwayne Haskins Jr. is one of the rare few who made that dream a reality.
Before he was a four-star quarterback in the state of Maryland, Haskins was an elementary school kid visiting an Ohio State youth camp in May of 2008 during which he declared to his father, "I am going to college here."
Eight years later, Haskins is one week through fall camp in Columbus, something he said has been special for him.
"It has been a great experience, seeing my dreams come true," Haskins said at Ohio State's media day Sunday afternoon. "Right now I am just trying to enjoy the moment and live it up. I feel like I have gotten better everyday. As a freshman you get limited reps because you are new. As the second week comes, I want to compete more as I learn and contribute. In (Saturday's) scrimmage I thought I did really well."
Haskins has been on campus for less than three months, but already he is turning heads. Senior H-back Dontre Wilson was asked during media day if any young players have stood out to him in camp, and Haskins was the first name out of his mouth.
"That dude can throw. I worked out with him a lot during the summer and now to see him in camp and in pads, he can sling the pill," Wilson said.
Standing 6-feet-3 inches and 220 pounds, Haskins has all the physical tools to play at the college level already, but is still trying to learn the playbook as he battles with redshirt-freshman Joey Burrow for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind J.T. Barrett.
While learning a playbook and trying to compete for a spot in the two-deep would appear to be a daunting task, Haskins said that his experience playing in high school all-star games in the spring has helped him prepare for the big stage.
"You've got things like the Elite 11 and high school All-American game, so it’s been good for me to experience multiple offenses. When I played in the Under Armour game we only had a week to learn a playbook," he said. "It wasn't as many plays as we have at Ohio State, but just learning how to get through a playbook. Right now I definitely think I know everything, but knowing and playing are two different things.”
In addition to learning the playbook and battling with Burrow, Haskins is trying to soak up all he can from Barrett. Haskins said Barrett has been mentoring him since he arrived on campus, from Ohio State's job fair in June to fall camp in August.
“He’s been great, just teaching me and Joe what goes on as far as learning all the mannerisms and how to be a quarterback here," Haskins said. "He’s been a great leader, so I just appreciate him for that. It’s been a great room, definitely better than what I was expecting the quarterback room to be in college just because everyone is competing against each other, but we all care about each other.”
Even though he might still be getting his feet wet in camp, Haskins is trying to make an impact as soon as he can.
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