Minutes after Michigan won the College Football Playoff National Championship, instead of feeling dread, some Buckeyes fans may’ve felt a spark.
That spark came in the form of former Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins’ announcement on social media that he was committing to Ohio State.
Judkins said that moment “wasn’t really planned” and that he just “put it out,” but it felt like just the right moment.
Judkins said he “wasn’t paying attention to the noise” surrounding the buzz generated from his commitment, but that he focused on arriving as soon as he could and “getting to work.”
“I think just at that moment it was just, I was like, OK, let’s make it happen at this point,’” Judkins said. “Especially when The Team Up North won, I was like, ‘This is where I want to be.’”
Judkins answered the lingering question about why he chose Ohio State with a rhetorial question — “why not Ohio State?” He said he found great culture along with the best coaches and players in the Buckeyes as well as “the best fan base that’s very passionate about their team and about the whole city.”
Judkins’ commitment sent a rumble throughout the college football world as the thought of pairing two 1,000-yard rushers together in he and TreVeyon Henderson stood out.
But it may not have come all that much of a surprise to Judkins. He said the process in the transfer portal went quickly, and he added that a place like Ohio State is prestigious.
“I think growing up, Ohio State isn’t just a school you hear about at that certain moment,” Judkins said. “With all the accolades they’ve had, all the great players that have come through here, some of my favorite running backs have played here so it’s always a school you’ve looked at growing up, and I think just with me being in the portal it was a great situation to be in.”
Judkins earned First Team All-Southeastern Conference honors after rushing for 1,158 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for the Rebels.
It was an encore of a performance after an outstanding freshman campaign in 2022 that saw him run for 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns. On top of all that, Judkins also caught over 132 yards and at least one touchdown in each of the first two years of his college career.
“I’ve done some great things at Ole Miss. I’ve learned a lot,” Judkins said. “But I think just for me in my third year, you want to be somewhere like a place like Ohio State, like I said, with great culture, great teammates, great coaches, the best players and the best fan base. You want to win it.”
Judkins said Ohio State pitched to him that he’d be “an all-around back” who is “doing it all.” He descirbed himself as a running back who is “tough,” “very elusive” and “fast.”
“I have vision, patience,” Judkins said. “I can make people miss. I can run you over. I can catch. It’s very different.”
Judkins said he and Henderson “have always been close” on social media even before he arrived at Ohio State. Judkins said Henderson was “very excited” when he learned the former Ole Miss running back would be transferring to the Buckeyes.
Taking carries away from Henderson isn’t what Judkins aims to do. He thinks the two can work well together, and he remains focused on “doing what I can to come and contribute to the team is all and just do what I can to win a national championship just playing my part.”
“I don’t think we’ve had that conversation just because we’re both very competitive at what we do,” Judkins said. “I don’t think anyone wants that. But we’re just very fortunate of each other to be both playing here.”
Judkins said he’s found the Columbus community to be “very welcoming” in his time since transferring from Ole Miss. He’s even noticed “everywhere you go (people) have Ohio State on” saying the fans are “very passionate.”
Judkins said former Buckeyes Ezekiel Elliott, J.K. Dobbins and Trey Sermon are among his favorite Ohio State ball-carriers that he’s watched. Maybe Henderson is on that list too, and perhaps he and Judkins will have a chance to cement themselves as the next great Buckeye running back duo.
“I think just the idea of coming to a team where you’re playing for something that’s bigger than yourself — a lot of great players have come here as you’ve seen through the portal this year — so I think when you come together for a cause that’s bigger than yourself and you have great players around you and you want to win, and that’s what it’s all about,” Judkins said.