Ohio State honors Dwayne Haskins at spring game

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The Ohio State football team paid tribute to late quarterback Dwayne Haskins on Saturday during its annual spring game in Columbus, Ohio.

The team and some 60,000 in attendance at Ohio Stadium had a moment of silence for Haskins before the game, and mentions of his name and legacy were scattered throughout the afternoon.

Haskins’s initials were stamped on the back of players’ helmets and painted on the field in front of the south end zone. Coaches also wore pins honoring Haskins, and quarterback C.J. Stroud, who shares the same No. 7, wore “Haskins Jr.” on the back of his jersey. After his first touchdown pass, to wide receiver Jaxon Smith NjigbaStroud pointed to Haskins’s name.

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“I just wanted to honor his maybe last moment in the ‘Shoe,” Stroud told reporters after the offense’s 34-26 win. “I feel like that’s a big brother of mine, and I just wanted to honor him. … I thought it would be important for him to go out the right way.”

During halftime, Ohio State played a video tribute to Haskins on the stadium’s big screen, and then Coach Ryan Day gathered players on the field for a prayer.

“He’s an inspiration. He always has been,” Stroud said of Haskins. “I even watched him when he was in high school. I used to watch Elite 11 documentaries all the time, and he was one of those dudes on there.”

Haskins died the morning of April 9 after being struck by a dump truck on an interstate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he had been training with some of his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates. He was 24.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman, Haskins was attempting to cross on foot the westbound lanes of Interstate 595 against oncoming traffic when he was hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and a traffic homicide investigation remains open.

A Highland Park, N.J., native, Haskins set 28 Ohio State records as well as Big Ten single-season records for passing yards (4,831), touchdown passes (50) and total offensive yards (4,939).

Washington drafted him 15th overall in 2019 and he played almost two full seasons with the team before he was released and later signed by the Steelers. Haskins was set to compete for a backup job to new Pittsburgh quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this season.

Haskins’s death sparked an outpouring of messages from former teammates and coaches, as well as many others affiliated with Ohio State and the NFL. Three more services are planned in his honor this week, beginning with a celebration of his life in Pittsburgh on Friday, followed by a funeral at Christ Church in Rockaway Township, N.J., on Saturday afternoon and a vigil at his alma mater, Bullis School, in Potomac, Md., on Sunday.

“He was just a big-time player, a big-time dude, and not just on the field but off as well,” Stroud told reporters Saturday. “He inspired me of course being a Black quarterback as well. He expressed himself in many different ways, so I respect that, and I just think he’s a great person. … He definitely left a legacy here.”