Stephen A. Smith Apologizes for Calling Dwayne Haskins a 'Runner' on First Take

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2019

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 23:  ESPN host Stephen A. Smith looks on prior to the game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome on February 23, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Duke defeated Syracuse 75-65. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has apologized to Dwayne Haskins for previously describing the 2019 NFL draft quarterback prospect as a "runner."

The Ohio State product appeared on Friday's episode of ESPN's First Take, and Smith said he was sorry for his previous assessment of the signal-caller's game. Smith went as far as to say he was an "ignorant fool" for saying Haskins was "more of a runner than a thrower" in the past.

Henry McKenna of the Big Lead noted in February that Smith said Haskins, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist for a season in which he threw for 4,831 yards and rushed for just 108 yards, was a run-first quarterback.

Haskins propelled the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship, Rose Bowl win and blowout victory over the rival Michigan Wolverines. In addition to leading college football in passing yards, he completed 70 percent of his attempts and threw 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Haskins showed he was able to stand strong in the pocket and hit receivers 50-plus yards down the field with a flick of the wrist. He also torched the Wolverines in particular by connecting on a number of underneath and crossing routes.

He addressed concerns about his mobility on First Take, saying he is "not an oak tree" and can extend plays in the pocket if needed. He also pointed to his ability to make all the throws, prepare and read defenses with his high football IQ while saying he feels he is the best quarterback in the upcoming draft.

While Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Oklahoma's Kyler Murray to go No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals and Haskins No. 6 overall to the New York Giants, he agreed with the Ohio State product's assessment.

"Haskins is the top quarterback on my board this season," Miller wrote in his late-March mock draft. "He's smart, tough, physical and can beat defenses from inside the pocket. He's accurate and poised, having shown that this year with monster games against good defenses like Michigan, Northwestern and Washington."

Haskins now has all that plus a Smith apology.