Justin Fields granted immediate eligibility to play at Ohio State

Justin Fields-Georgia football-Ohio State
Justin Fields will be able to play right away at Ohio State.

It looks like Justin Fields will be able to see the field in 2019, as the NCAA has said that Fields will be eligible in 2019 according to a release from Ohio State.

Fields spent the 2018 season at Georgia, where he served as the back-up to Jake Fromm. Fields appeared in 12 of Georgia’s 14 games before transferring to Ohio State in January.

In the past, players have had to sit out a season while transferring but the NCAA has gotten more lenient in the past year with regards to adding a waiver. With Tate Martell transferring from Ohio State, Fields will almost certainly be the full-time starter under new Ohio State coach Ryan Day.

Fields came to Georgia with a lot of hype, as he was the nation’s No. 2 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class. Only Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was rated higher than he was. Field was the highest rated recruit to ever sign with Georgia using the 247Sports Composite.

As a freshman, Fields completed 27 of his 39 pass attempts for 328 yards yards and 4 touchdowns. He also ran for 4 touchdowns as well. Fields was named to the Freshman All-SEC team for his season.

Fields never got consistent playing time under Georgia coach Kirby Smart. He would rotate in and out with Fromm every few plays, but rarely was given the opportunity to showcase his skills for extended periods of time. Fields was by no means perfect, but he flashed his natural talent a number of times.

The usage of Fields frustrated many all season, none more than in the SEC championship game. Despite Jake Fromm playing arguably the best game of his career, Fields will still seeing meaningful snaps of the fourth quarter of the game. In what turned out to be his final play in a Georgia uniform, Fields rushed for two yards on an ill-fated fourth and 11 fake punt. Following the turnover on downs, Alabama scored the game’s go-ahead touchdown to win 35-28.

News of Fields entering the NCAA’s transfer portal was first reported on the Monday before Early Signing Day, which allowed other schools to possibly reach out and contact him. With Ohio State’s star quarterback Dwayne Haskins seemingly bound for the 2019 NFL draft, the Buckeyes emerged as an early front-runner to land the talented quarterback. Fields announced on Jan. 5 that he was transferring from Georgia to Ohio State.

In addition to the on-field circumstances, there was an off-field controversy as well surrounding Fields. Georgia baseball player Adam Sasser was allegedly shooting racial slurs at Fields during the Tennessee game. Sasser was removed from the Georgia baseball team after the alleged incident became public.

Fields made his first public comments at Ohio State on Wednesday, but declined to talk about his time at Georgia.

Related: Former Georgia football QB Justin Fields speaks, not looking back

Fields did comment on his time at Georgia in a release by the NCAA.

“Now that this matter is concluded, I would like to clarify some facts,” Fields said in a statement.  “I have no regrets about my time at UGA and have no hard feelings for the school or football program. My overall experience at UGA was fully consistent with UGA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.  My sister is a softball player at UGA.  I am still close friends with many of my UGA teammates.  A part of me will always be a Georgia Bulldogs fan.”

With Fields no longer at Georgia, Fromm will be the unquestioned starter heading into the 2019 season. As a sophomore, Fromm threw for 30 touchdowns compared to just 6 interceptions in 2018. The backup situation without Fields is much murkier, as it will either be freshman Dwan Mathis or JUCO quarterback Stetson Bennett.

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