By: Patrick Damp/KDKA-TV
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Steelers and the football community suffered a huge loss on Saturday morning.
READ MORE: ‘My heart just sank’: Steelers fans react to quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ death
Around 6:30 a.m., Steelers quarterback and Ohio State Buckeye legend Dwayne Haskins was killed while trying to cross a Florida highway and was hit by a dump truck.
He died instantly.
Haskins is known as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Ohio State history. In 2018, Haskins threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns and led the team to a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory.
“You could argue that Dwayne Haskins is the godfather of the new era of Big Ten football, certainly in Ohio State,” said Dave Holmes of WBNS Sports Columbus, who covered Haskins’ college career. “He didn’t set any records – he smashed them. He broke the former Big Ten single-season passing mark of 1,000 yards and he broke Drew Brees’ touchdown record by 11 touchdowns.
Considering the shockwaves that rippled through Steeler Nation when news of Haskins’ death broke, so did our neighbors in Ohio.
READ MORE: Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL and region pay tribute to Dwayne Haskins after his death
“That’s what’s going on in Columbus, Ohio and this whole area – once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye,” Holmes said. “It’s amazing, this city is full of former players, who are now members of the media, real estate agents, insurance salesmen, people tend to come back to Columbus. This city loves Dwayne Haskins. This city celebrates players average footballers, Dwayne Haskins was elite in every way. People loved him.”
Haskins rose to prominence in Columbus when, in a spring game, he clashed with Joe Burrow, earning the starting job for the Buckeyes.
This move was part of the reason Burrow transferred to Louisiana State University.
Then came his debut.
“He’s the guy who made his debut, on the road, in Ann Arbor, in the second half of a game, when JT Barrett got injured and led the Buckeyes to a Big House win,” recalled Holmes.
Just as so many of his Steelers teammates recalled today, the people of Columbus fell in love with Haskins the person more than Haskins the quarterback.
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“He’s a talented guy, but more than the talent, it’s the smile, that’s what everyone was talking about in Columbus,” Holmes said. “You didn’t have to tell Dwayne Haskins to smile for the pictures, he always had a smile on his face. He was infectious to be around people, he was always in a good mood.