One week following his tragic death, Dwayne Haskins was honored by his alma mater on Saturday at Ohio State’s spring football game in Columbus.
A moment of silence was observed by those in attendance before kickoff to remember the late quarterback and there were enduring reminders of Haskins throughout the annual exhibition between the scarlet and gray squads.
Buckeye helmets donned ‘DH’ decals and coaches wore ‘DH’ pins while Haskins’ initials were also painted on the turf near the 5-yard line at the southeast end of Ohio Stadium. Ohio State fans and alumni also set up a memorial to Haskins outside of the stadium better known as the “Horseshoe.”
A tribute video for Haskins was played at halftime before Ohio State head coach Ryan Day huddled his squad for an on-field prayer. A total of 11 players on the current Ohio State team played with Haskins in 2018.
Haskins died when he was fatally struck by a vehicle in Florida on April 9. He was 24 years old.
Haskins rose to stardom during his memorable run as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback in 2018. The sophomore set single-season school records in passing yards (4,831), passing touchdowns (50), completion percentage (70.0), completions (373), passing yards per game (345.1), total offense (4,939) and total touchdowns (54). Haskins led the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record in 2018, earning a Big Ten Conference championship and a win at the Rose Bowl. Haskins was named MVP of both games.
Haskins’ legacy at Ohio State set a new standard at the QB position for the esteemed university. Following Haskins, Justin Fields met that standard in his two seasons at Ohio State and went on to become a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears. Continuing that QB excellence currently is starting QB C.J. Stroud, who wore Haskins’ No. 7 jersey for the extent of Saturday’s scrimmage.
“He’s an inspiration, he always has been,” Stroud said in a post-game press conference. “Dwayne was a great human being, first and foremost, and he definitely left a legacy here. He changed the culture of quarterbacks here, throwing 50 passing touchdowns, and that’s definitely what intrigued me to come here.”
Finishing third in the Heisman Trophy vote and a semi-finalist for the Maxwell Award, Haskins decided to forgo his final years of eligibility at Ohio State after his stellar sophomore season.
Haskins went on to become a first-round selection (No. 15 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft by Washington. After starting seven games down the back stretch of his rookie season, Haskins was named the Week 1 starter in 2020 following a crowded QB competition in training camp. After posting a 1-3 record through four weeks, Haskins’ mid-season benching preceded a tumultuous season that ended with his release from the club.
The Steelers offered Haskins a new beginning ahead of the 2021 season and it was there he earned a backup role. Though he didn’t see any snaps in his first season with Pittsburgh, Haskins was tendered by the club ahead of the 2022 season and was set to enter another QB competition before his tragic death.