Ohio State Quarterback Justin Fields’ Mother, Coach Reveal Why He Decommitted From Penn State
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has taken a bit of a winding path to his current standing as one of the leading signal-callers in the country.
He transferred to Ohio State this year after serving as Georgia’s backup quarterback last season. Before he arrived in Athens, however, Fields had been committed to play at Penn State for sixth months before decommitting during the summer of 2017 before his senior season.
In recent interviews with Cleveland.com, Fields’ mother Gina Tovey and his high school coach Matt Dickmann explained what led him to go back on his original pledge to James Franklin.
First, he committed so early in his development that he was still improving and continuing to draw the attention of coaches from SEC powerhouses like Georgia and Alabama. Dickmann even suggested to Cleveland.com that committing to Penn State helped put him on the radar.
“First of all, you commit to Penn State, that’s a big deal. That’s a Power Five. That’s a high-level program,” Dickmann said. “I just don’t know if he expected all this other (attention) was going to come, but I kind of did.”
Additionally, his family wasn’t confident that then-offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who they had taken a liking to, would be around forever. This proved to be true. A few months after Fields’ decommitment, Moorhead took the head-coaching job at Mississippi State.
“[Moorhead’s] offensive mind for me was like, okay, you can excel under this coaching,” Tovey said. “But we knew how good he was, and we read that he was a target for a head coaching job. As much as he said, ‘No, no, I’m not going to do it, we were like, I think it’s coming sooner rather than later, and then we don’t know what we have.
“So that was one of the deciding factors as far as decommitting goes.”
Even two and a half years after his decommitment, Fields still has high praise for Penn State, a team he’ll face for the first time this weekend when the Buckeyes host the Nittany Lions at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
“I think Coach Franklin’s a good coach, and I had a great relationship with Coach Moorhead,” Fields said in a post-game interview Saturday. “I know a good amount of the [players], so just have having those relationships. I still talked to a few of them. They’re all great guys over there.”
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