“It is TCU, like any big program, it’s always going to have good players,” said Baldwin, who has three years of eligibility remaining. “You’ve got to have confidence in yourself as a player and I feel I can learn the offense and compete for a job right away.
“But you’re not going to be handed a job.”
Baldwin knew that when he went to Ohio State as a four-star prospect out of Austin Lake Travis, and he knows that now as he steps into another deep quarterback room at TCU. But he’s excited about his next chapter in Fort Worth.
Baldwin was looking for four primary things when he decided to leave Ohio State and put his name in the NCAA transfer portal.
He wanted a school with strong academics. He wanted a program that had a chance to compete for the College Football Playoff and national championship. He had to enjoy being around the coaching staff. And he wanted the right feel as far as college town, whether it happened to be in his native Texas or elsewhere.
“TCU checked all the boxes,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin is now focused on trying to receive a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible next season. Most transfers have to sit out a season, but Baldwin and his family will appeal for a waiver.
Baldwin wouldn’t reveal much details on how they’ll approach it, but Ohio State did undergo a coaching change this off-season from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day. That change could have affected players in various fashions.
Baldwin was in the mix to become Ohio State’s next quarterback, but faced an uphill battle with Georgia transfer Justin Fields the favorite to win the job.
“We are going to file to get a waiver, but you never know with those,” said Baldwin, who was 20 of 36 for 246 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions in Ohio State’s spring game.
“We’re going to get all the information to TCU and file that pretty soon.”
If the NCAA grants the waiver, Baldwin would become a contender for the starting job at TCU. He’d be in the mix with Kansas State graduate transfer Alex Delton and true freshman Max Duggan, as well as holdovers in Justin Rogers and Mike Collins.
A crowded quarterback room is something he experienced in his lone season with the Buckeyes.
Baldwin enrolled early when LSU’s Joe Burrow was still at Ohio State, along with Dwayne Haskins, the Washington Redskins’ first-round pick in last month’s NFL Draft, Tate Martell, who has since transferred to Miami, and Baldwin.
“We had a stacked room when I got to Ohio State,” Baldwin said. “But I learned a ton from those guys and very grateful for my time up there.
“We definitely have got some dudes here. Like I said, you’re not going to be handed a job.”
Baldwin, who tore his ACL during the playoffs his senior season at Lake Travis, describes himself as a pro-style quarterback.
“I can make plays with my legs when I want to, but I prefer to be back there and get the ball in the hands of play-makers,” Baldwin said. “I’m not as fast as those guys. I like to get them the ball. But, as long as we’re winning, I’m good. That’s what matters.”
Baldwin feels TCU has the ability to contend for the CFP, and likes what he’s seen on offense with weapons such as receiver Jalen Reagor and running backs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua.
He also likes the TCU coaching staff. Co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie recruited Baldwin at Lake Travis, and Baldwin had nothing but good things to say about coach Gary Patterson.
“I believe in Coach Patterson,” Baldwin said. “He’s going to be able to scheme up a defense that gives us that winning aspect. He’s one of the best there is at calling defense and we help each other out.”
Baldwin expects to get on campus next month with the rest of the incoming class, and is hopeful that the NCAA grants the waiver.
Either way, he sees TCU as a great opportunity for him to see the field at some point, whether it’s in 2019 or down the road.
“You have to fight for everything,” Baldwin said. “Nowhere is going to be a perfect situation where they say, ‘We need you to come here and start for us.’ But I am a confident player.
“I knew there would be competition at Ohio State and know there’s competition at TCU. But I’m looking at it as a good chance to play at some point in my career here.”
TCU, coming off a 7-6 year, opens next season against Arkansas- Pine Bluff on Aug. 31.