Updated: Apr 12
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said on Monday that the Buckeyes will honor Dwayne Haskins in some way Saturday at their spring game. Haskins was killed early Saturday morning after he was struck by a dump truck while he was walking on Interstate 595 in South Florida. Haskins was 24 years old. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Haskins was headed to the Fort Lauderdale airport to return to Pittsburgh when the accident occurred.
“We’re just trying to digest it all,” Day said when asked how they'll pay tribute to Haskins. “I have a list of things that I’ve written down. Some probably too big, some maybe not big enough.”
Haskins had a record-setting season at Ohio State in 2018, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and set the Big Ten record with 50 touchdown passes, breaking Drew Brees' record by 11. Haskins only season as a starter at Ohio State was also Day's first as the Buckeye's head coach took over for Urban Meyer with three games remaining. Day was Haskins' quarterback coach and offensive coordinator before being named as the interim head coach. If it wasn't for Haskins outstanding 2018 season, Day doesn't think he would have been named head coach.
“Probably not,” Day said. “Certain people are meant to spend time together, and God has a plan for us all. We end up with the same path together. I don't think any of us would be here, and the program would be where it is without Dwayne and the way that it all happened.”
Haskins was the 15th overall pick by Washington in the 2019 NFL Draft. It was a rare feat for a Ohio State quarterback, as the last Buckeye QB to go in the first round was Art Schlicter in 1982. Before that it was Don Scott in 1941.
Haskins set the trend for first-round Ohio State quarterbacks, as Justin Fields went to the Bears in the first round last year and C.J. Stroud is expected to be a first-round pick in 2023.
Stroud honored the late Haskins at practice on Monday.
"We talked about a lot of things," Day said of meeting with his team. "We have a good group of our guys who played with Dwayne, and they’re hurting. It was a tough weekend for all of us.”
Haskins had a profound impact on Day, but he also had a close relationship with his son RJ.
“He always took time after practice to be around family members, kids,” Day said, holding back emotions. “He was like a big brother to R.J. He took R.J. to a high school football game, and they spent a lot of time together. He meant a lot to my family, meant a lot to this program.”
In addition to Ohio State's football program paying tribute to Haskins on Saturday, there will be a candlelight vigil on Tuesday for Haskins.
"Buckeye nation meant a lot to Dwayne," Day said. "Having everybody there on Saturday is significant. And we'll make sure we do things the right way and then moving forward, we just want to make sure we do it the right way and think it through."