Buckeye superstar, CJ Stroud, is the latest in a new line of future 1st round picks to play the quarterback position at Ohio State. He displayed tremendous promise all throughout 2021, despite a few hiccups, and then gave everyone an incredible preview of what is to come during last year’s Rose Bowl.
Stroud diced up the Utah Utes, in one of the wilder Rose Bowls any of us have ever seen, to the tune of 573 yards, and six touchdowns, all while completing 37 of 46 attempts. Stroud showcased an NFL skillset as he showed off his arm strength, accuracy, and ability to see the field and anticipate windows. With the exception of one interception, Stroud was nearly perfect, in what could be the greatest passing performance in the history of the program.
Now, the expectations are even higher for 2022. Ohio State is a preseason favorite to win the national championship and they are beginning the season as the second-ranked team in the country, only behind Alabama. Stroud is also the favorite to be the number one overall pick in next year’s NFL draft and he is the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy.
By all accounts, Stroud is well aware of expectations around his season, and it seems he has embraced them. In a meeting with the media on Thursday, Stroud talked at length about his offseason and what he has done to improve.
While playing at about 210lbs to about 215lbs last season, Stroud has hit the weight room and has built himself into 220lbs. His frame at 6’3” will be even sturdier than it was last year, and he also noted that his hard work in the weight has resulted in more speed.
While not a runner last year, Stroud is more than capable of scrambling and making something happen with his legs if a play breaks down. In order to ascend to that next level, Stroud needs to be more willing to take what the defense gives him, and according to Stroud, that has been one of his major focuses during this offseason.
Stroud mentioned that he attacked the offseason with the intention of managing the game more efficiently, making faster decisions, finding his check down, and also using his feet to pick up some cheap yardage.
If those subtle improvements happen, the sky is the absolute limit for Stroud. He is artistic in throwing the football and his anticipation is really unique for a college quarterback. The group of receivers at his disposal are true thoroughbreds who are the perfect vessels to showcase the modern passing attack of 2022. With an added year of experience and an entire offseason to build chemistry with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, and the rest of the group, the game should move even slower for Stroud and the offense as a whole.
On top of all of his physical gifts, Stroud is also the unquestioned leader of the team and, by all accounts, has completed a transformation into becoming a grown and mature player at the quarterback position. He obviously needs to prove it on the field, but all signs are pointing to a massive and exciting 2022 season for Stroud and the Buckeyes.