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New Ohio State QB Justin Fields, a transfer from Georgia, said he understands there's "a lot of hate for the team up north." Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News

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Columbus, Ohio — New Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who transferred from Georgia early last month, already has been indoctrinated in The Game.

Fields, a Georgia native, is awaiting word from the NCAA regarding a waiver for immediate eligibility, but he was made available during Ohio State’s signing day news conference Wednesday that included the Buckeyes’ early enrollees. Fields, projected to be the Buckeyes’ starter this fall pending the waiver, drew the largest crowd of media.

He was asked how much he knew about Michigan-Ohio State rivalry while growing up in Georgia. Ohio State has won seven straight and 14 of the last 15 against Michigan. The teams will play Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium.

“I definitely knew it was a big rivalry, but coming here and actually seeing all the Ms crossed out, it’s definitely way bigger than I thought it would be,” Fields said. “I’ll definitely be excited for that upcoming game.”

Fields would not share what his teammates have told him about Michigan and the rivalry, but their message was received loud and clear.

“That’s kind of private, but just know there’s a lot of hate for That Team Up North,” Fields said.

More: Live updates from National Signing Day

Fields’ situation is reminiscent of Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson’s transfer to Michigan from Ole Miss and his subsequent quest for an NCAA waiver to play immediately and avoid the year-in-residence rule that would require sitting out the fall. Both share a lawyer, Tom Mars, now known in college football circles as the “transfer magician” because of his success navigating the transfer process.

All signs point to Fields, a five-star recruit in the 2018 class and the No. 2-rated quarterback nationally by 247Sports composite, being granted immediate eligibility. But he said he hasn’t focused on that process, as he prepares for spring practice under new OSU coach Ryan Day.

“My focus is on getting to know the guys better and kinda getting to know the system and focus on this upcoming season,” Fields said. “It’s going good. Me and the guys are building a great relationship. Coach Day is a great guy and a great coach. I’m definitely getting acclimated. I like it up here a lot.”

He chose Ohio State in large part because of Day and called him a “great offensive-minded coach." They got to know each other during the recruiting process but Ohio State already had a quarterback commitment.

Fields would not discuss why he decided to leave Georgia.

“I’d really rather not talk about why I left,” he said. “I’d rather talk about this upcoming season and the upcoming goals me and this team have to try and accomplish this year. I just don’t want to talk about Georgia. I want to keep all my focus on Ohio State.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis

 

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