Earlier this week, Carroll High School starting quarterback Quinn Ewers made a bold decision about his athletic future. As the top overall quarterback prospect in the 2022 class, Ewers and his family have decided that he’ll be playing big time college football sooner than expected.
The young signal caller will be skipping his senior season of high school to start his collegiate career with the Ohio State Buckeyes in the coming weeks. It seems improbable that Ewers would be a factor during the 2021 season considering he hasn’t had any practice time with the team as of yet, but tracking the star prospect’s progress will be a fun storyline to track this season.
However, Ewers’ decision might open up a bit of a Pandora’s box for high school athletes and their parents. Reports indicate that Ewers is in the process of finishing up his academic obligations in order to graduate high school, and it expands the horizons for talented upperclassmen everywhere. It appears as if the NCAA’s decision to allow college athletes to profit off of their own name, image and likeness helped spur the way for Ewers’ decision. That factor alone might cause a notable number of high school student athletes to consider joining the collegiate ranks a year(or two?) earlier.
In the case of Ewers, who’s a prominent prospect joining a powerhouse Division I football school, the sky would seem to be the limit for his earning potential. However, there may be other athletes who might decide to make the leap due to their family’s financial situation. If a rising junior or senior knows that their parents or legal guardians have struggled to make ends meet, especially during a pandemic, that might be motivation enough for them to make the leap.
While the prospects of making money as a 17 or 18 year old are certainly alluring, other considerations will likely come into play. Athletes will have to determine whether they are physically ready to compete at the next level with stronger, faster, and more seasoned athletes. In non-contact sports like gymnastics or track, this might be less of an issue, but an honest assessment still needs to be made. In addition, parents will need to ensure that their children are mature enough to handle a college experience earlier than they would’ve otherwise received it. We can expect conversations like these to take place in dining rooms all over the country in the next few years.