Sayin’s stock rising quickly after strong spring


When Ohio State landed Will Howard out of the transfer portal this winter, it was widely assumed the Buckeyes’ quarterback competition would be a two-man race between him and Devin Brown. While that still may be the case as spring practice closes and the team looks ahead to fall camp, another transfer addition has at least forced consideration from head coach Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly.

Despite having been on campus for only three months, Julian Sayin has quickly validated the hype that made him a consensus five-star recruit and top-five quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class. The buzz coming out of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center throughout the spring regarding Sayin has been noticeable, and Sayin shedding the black stripe from his helmet after only nine practices was telling of the kind of progress the freshman was showing with every passing day.

The black stripe tradition was brought to Ohio State by Urban Meyer in 2012 and is used as a right of passage for newcomers in the program, signaling they are officially members of the team. Sayin became the first true freshman quarterback to lose the stripe in spring practice and is one of only two true freshmen from Ohio State’s 2024 class to shed it this spring, joining fellow five-star freshman Jeremiah Smith.

“He’s been in there competing, making plays, and the guys know (what he’s doing),” Day said of Sayin on April 1o. “A lot of times with the black stripe, it’s the players; they know and see it when a guy makes a play or shows up over an extended period of time. But nine practices in, you could see that he’s making a lot of throws in big spots, even against the ones, so the play speaks for itself. Again, when you lose the black stripe, it’s because you’ve earned the respect of the team, and I think he’s done that.”

Asked how much of a factor Sayin could be in the quarterback competition this fall, Day said he’s “in the mix” and would need a strong summer to remain there come August.

“Just overall experience and maturity physically, mentally, emotionally, all of those things,” Day said of what Sayin will need to show in order to see the field this season. “But he’s shown great signs. I think he’s put on 15 pounds since he got here, so that’s great. And then it’s just a matter of experience. But I like his approach. I see things in him that lead us to believe he has a really bright future, and it’s very, very encouraging.”

Day confirmed his high praise of Sayin to be more than public encouragement during Saturday’s spring game as Sayin saw first-quarter reps with the second-team offense along with Lincoln Keinholz.

Sayin’s performance was a mixed bag as he flashed his talent at times while also looking hesitant and indecisive in his first action in front of a crowd in Ohio Stadium. Most importantly, though, every snap he received was a pivotal step in beginning to stack the experience he needs to contend with Howard and Brown when camp gets underway.

Following the game, Kelly spoke on why Sayin has already begun to separate himself from the freshman label and show he’s not far from being game-ready.

“Julian is a very fast processor,” Kelly said. “He really thinks very quickly on his feet. He makes really quick decisions; he doesn’t stick in reads. He can progress and he sees things really well for a young player and not having been exposed to college defenses. And especially with what (defensive coordinator) Jim (Knowkes) does. Jim can make a young freshman quarterback cry with some of the stuff that he does, but I never saw that with Julian, and it’s been impressive along with his ability to retain (information).”

Kelly added of Sayin, “Him and J.J. (Smith), the compliment I would give them is if you got here and didn’t know what class they’re in, you wouldn’t say that those guys are freshmen in terms of how they pick things up. Sometimes freshmen act like freshmen. But the guys who are special, they don’t act like freshmen. They act like they are football players, and those are two guys who are examples of that.”

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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