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Ohio State's Ryan Day: Justin Fields Is a Great Player, Person Amid Draft Buzz

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2021

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day hugs quarterback Justin Fields after their win against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. Ohio State won 49-28. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day provided a strong endorsement of Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields, one of the top prospects in the 2021 NFL draft.

Day called Fields "a great player and a great person" on Friday:

The narrative around Fields' draft stock has changed frequently over the past few months.

He peaked on New Year's Day when he threw six touchdown passes in OSU's blowout victory over Trevor Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Fields has come under scrutiny as of late, however, including ESPN's Dan Orlovsky saying on the Pat McAfee Show (h/t Jeremy Layton of the New York Post) he wasn't hearing positive things from sources about the quarterback's worth ethic:

"One, I have heard that he is a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback. Like, not the maniacal work ethic. I've even heard it compared to Justin Herbert, where it was like, dude, when Justin Herbert showed up, he was like a psychopath when it came to working and get ready for the draft. Or even at school, like, 'Give me more, I want to work non-stop.' And I've heard that there are issues with Justin Fields' work ethic.

"The second thing is ... Where is his desire to go be a great quarterback? I think that there's a desire to be a big-time athlete, from what is expressed to me, but where is his desire to be a great quarterback? And to be great, you gotta be willing to find the things that you are not good at and just freaking grind on them."

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Fields' numbers at Ohio State were nothing short of outstanding. He completed 68.4 percent of his throws for 5,701 yards with 67 touchdowns and just nine interceptions across 34 appearances. He added 1,133 rushing yards and 19 scores on the ground.

Normally, those type of numbers at a Power Five program combined with his dual-threat playmaking ability, which is a perfect fit for the current trend of NFL offenses, would make him a top-five lock.

This year is a little different because there's a lot of depth in the quarterback class. Along with Lawrence and Fields, BYU's Zach Wilson, Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance are all potential top-10 selections come April 29.

So, questions like the ones raised by Orlovsky must be answered to prevent the risk of sliding down the draft board, and that's probably why Day decided to speak out against the rumors.

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