Justin Fields should’ve never gone to Georgia to begin with.
Aside from the fact that he played high school football in the state of Georgia, the Fields-UGA marriage never really made sense.
Hell, not even a month after he stepped on campus, another five-star quarterback—Jacob Eason—who had been in the program for two years, began 2017 as the starter, and, presumably, knew the system as well as Jake Fromm, waived the white flag and transferred out.
Prior to that, Fields was voluntarily sitting in a quarterback room with two blue chip prospects, one and two years ahead of him, respectively, and no clear path to the starting job. Why would he have believed his fate would be any different?
He was undoubtedly fed the coachspeak about how he should embrace competition—which, by the way, is nothing less than blatant manipulation of overwhelmed teenagers if we’re all being honest with one another—but he didn’t have to take the bait.
His friends and family were likely pushing for him to stay home and become a hero for their favorite team—but he didn’t have to put stock into their largely self-motivated desires.
By buying into the machismo bullshit that emanates throughout the recruiting process, Fields walked into what was actually a very predictable scenario.
Where he ultimately plays next is anyone’s guess, but—from Oklahoma to Mississippi State—just about everyone has decided that the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2018 should go to their alma mater.
Ohio State has reportedly emerged as one of the favorites to land him and, quite frankly, it makes a ton of sense. Dwayne Haskins should be headed for the NFL and Tate Martell isn’t on Fields’ level.
That’s not a shot at Martell, either. Few are.
Fields-to-Columbus would provide a massive boon for new head coach Ryan Day in his first year leading the Buckeyes.
That is, of course, if Fields can get immediate eligibility, which he may have a line on after racial slurs were lobbed at him both from the stands and over social media this season.
Quite the plot twist that those disgusting outbursts may actually keep Fields from spending yet another year on the sidelines. And his ability to play right away would unequivocally make him the most important college football free agent in the history of the sport.
If Justin Fields (No. 2 overall QB in 2018 class) does ultimately transfer, a wild trend would continue.— Jason Starrett (@starrettjason) December 18, 2018
A top-2 QB recruit has transferred in every class dating to 2010. pic.twitter.com/OBtdxfAQyG
In any case, this chapter of transition for the No. 2 player in the 2018 class could have and should have been avoided. At any number of other programs—including Penn State and LSU—Fields would not have had a built-in road block between himself and the first team offense for his first three years on campus.
If nothing else, that should be the takeaway, here, for prospects all over the country who will be signing with the colleges of their choice this week: Prospects should have a laser focus on finding the best situation for them. Not the one that will make the biggest splash. Not the one that their friends and family will rally around the most.
So, fellas, take it from a washed up walk-on who hates seeing talent wasted: Take a step back, survey the room you’re about to be a part of, and choose the one that provides you with an opportunity to flourish.
It really ought to be that simple.