Ohio State always sends plenty of talent to the NFL, and the 2021 draft will be no exception, when quarterback Justin Fields is a potential first overall pick. But at this point, Fields and every other top prospect is unsure what comes next, with some schools still planning to play football in the fall, some moving it to spring, and everyone wondering how long the pandemic will affect the sport.
For Ohio State coach Ryan Day, the most important thing is not putting Fields and his fellow draft prospects in a position where they have no information about their futures.
“I think Justin wants to see what the schedule is,” Day said, via the Associated Press. “And I think it’s our job, and we owe it to these guys to make sure that we do put the schedule out and put the plan in quickly here so guys like Justin can plan for his next year, next few months.”
Day said he hopes players will stay at Ohio State, where he believes he can help them get ready for the next level.
“Regardless of what happens, the NFL draft is going to be next spring. So we have everything in place here in Columbus to help these guys,” Day said. “In a normal cycle, they wouldn’t be leaving anywhere until January anyhow. So to go somewhere right now to me doesn’t make a lot of sense when we have everything you need right here.”
If the Big Ten were to run its season from February through May, and the NFL were to hold the draft in April, the wisest course of action for Fields might be to stop playing and focus exclusively on the draft. It’s entirely possible that Fields and scores of other draft prospects will make that decision, and the majority of the players drafted in 2021 won’t have played football in more than a year.