Appearing on Morning Juice with Brandon Beam and Bobby Carpenter, Day dismissed the litany of criticisms against his starting QB of the last two years. Day made it clear that the “work ethic” issue raised by some analysts is completely false, highlighting how much harder Fields worked after their Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson in 2019.
“Yeah, first off, I read some of the things that were said in the last few days and… I don’t understand where any of that’s coming from,” Day said, via 247Sports. “This is a guy who, after that Clemson loss (29-23 on Dec. 28, 2019, in the College Football Playoff semifinal), he took that personally — you know, coming off of that field, the last game ending in an interception. And all that he did for the next year was work towards getting back to that game…”
Day challenged the “work ethic” narrative even further, pointing out that Fields fought harder than almost anyone for the Big Ten to reinstate their season after canceling it. He said that Fields could have easily opted out of the season like so many others and prepared for the NFL draft instead.
“Then we get back here in the preseason and the season gets canceled and this is a guy who could have easily, at that point, opted out, been in the draft like so many guys — and I don’t hear people talking about them — and what did he do? He just kept working — and, actually, he petitioned, went on national TV and fought to have football. You know, you don’t do that if you don’t absolutely love football and are an unbelievable competitor.
“Then he comes into the season, competes really well and gets all the way back to that same game that he lost a year before, gets nailed in the back and very easily could’ve come out, then didn’t, threw six touchdowns and wins that (CFB Playoff semifinal) game (49-28 on Jan. 1). So if you’re talking about a body of work over one year — an unbelievable work ethic, competitive, toughness — I’m not sure there’s someone out there better in the country. And that’s who you’re getting, if you draft Justin Fields.”
Justin Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore in 2019 and led Ohio State to the national title game the year after. While there are legitimate concerns and criticisms about his style of play and mechanics, work ethic isn’t one of them.
In all likelihood, Justin Fields will be a top three to five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’ll be able to justify the confidence Day has in him afterwards.