‘He left a legacy even at 24-years-old;’ OSU coach reflects on passing of former QB Dwayne Haskins

COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day met with reporters Monday, two days after the death of former standout quarterback Dwayne Haskins and shared his memories and mark Haskins left on the program.

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Haskins, 24, died Saturday morning after he was hit by a dump truck while walking on a Florida interstate. Haskins had been working in South Florida with other Pittsburgh Steelers teammates in the days before the deadly crash.

Haskins was a standout quarterback for the Buckeyes in the 2018 season, his only season as the starting QB. The Buckeyes finished with a 13-1 record, Big Ten champions and finished the season with a Rose Bowl victory over Washington. Haskins set many program and conference records and was selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Haskins entered the NFL draft after that 2018 season and was selected in the first round by the Washington Commanders.

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Haskins played for current Ohio State head coach Ryan Day when Day was the quarterbacks coach. Day spoke with reporters during a news conference Monday morning about Haskins’ mark on the program.

“We spent a lot of time together, he meant a lot to my family, meant a lot to this program and he’s going to be sorely missed,” Day said during the news conference. “Its hard to wrap your mind around something like this especially when it happens so tragically to a young person especially to somebody who had such a big heart.”

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“He left a legacy even at 24-year-old. That says so much of who he was as a person, because of that. The outpouring of support shows what kind of special person he was,” Day said.

Day said Haskins was a big part of the recent success in the Ohio State program with Haskins being part of Day’s changes to the offense after Day took over the head coaching duties from former coach Urban Meyer. Haskins was recruited to the program by former head coach Urban Meyer and played under Meyer in that 2018 season, which would end up being Meyer’s final season as head coach in Columbus.

“Coach Meyer said it best when he saw him as a young player, he saw something special,” Day said. “I don’t think any of us would be here, the program wouldn’t be where it is, without Dwayne.”

Day also talked about Haskins’ unique recruiting story when Haskins took a visit of the Ohio State campus when he was 11-year-old and said then his goal was to become the Ohio State quarterback.

“He was 11-years-old, walking through this facility, and said ‘this is what I’m going to do,’ and then did it. I think that’s the legacy he’s going to leave behind to younger people across the country, not just in Buckeye Nation, is that you can set a dream and goal and go achieve it, and he did it. I think that’s probably one of the biggest legacies he’ll leave behind he set a dream and he chased it, and he did it,” Day said.

When asked how he’ll remember Haskins, Day said he’ll remember his infectious smile, poise, and confidence, among other qualities. While Haskins was quick to think of others first, Day said he had a strong desire to be great.

Ohio State is planning to honor Haskins during the team’s annual spring game coming up this weekend. However, Day said the details are still being finalized. The program is also planning to honor him during the upcoming season, Day said.