Football

Spring Recap: Buckeyes More Than Just CJ Stroud At Quarterback

Now that spring football is over, it’s time to look back at exactly what we just saw. We’ll go over each position group over the next two weeks with what was learned and what still needs to happen. Up next will be the Ohio State quarterbacks.

[Previous: Linebackers]

Quick Position Overview

The Buckeyes return starter CJ Stroud who had one of the best seasons in Ohio State history last year as a redshirt freshman. Kyle McCord was his talented backup and he returns for his true sophomore season. Behind them is true freshman Devin Brown, who has been on campus since January. All three quarterbacks were ranked as five-star prospects by at least one recruiting service.

Expectations Going In

The expectation going into spring ball was pretty laid out and understood. CJ Stroud is the returning starter and everybody understands that. Kyle McCord is the backup and Devin Brown is the freshman who will attempt to stay afloat as best as he can.

Reality Coming Out

The reality coming out is that the top three is still in the same order as it was when spring ball began. CJ Stroud wasn’t going to lose his job in spring and neither was Kyle McCord. Devin Brown has been on campus for a little over four months at this point, but he still did very well for how young he is.

Any Surprises?

Not really. With only three players at the most-analyzed position in sports and a Ryan Day track record to uphold, surprises were something the Buckeyes did not need. At this point, they just need everything to go exactly as they’ve planned. In the “no news is good news” vein, no surprise is a good surprise.

Unanswered Question

Will CJ Stroud’s shoulder fatigue reappear? Stroud dealt with a sore shoulder early last year and missed the Akron game so that he could get some rest. Regardless of how the soreness came about, now that the everybody is aware of what happened last year, they should be able to avoid it this year. Since it happened once, there is going to be a concerted effort made by all to make sure it doesn’t happen a second time. The good news for now is that things seemed to go just fine this spring for Stroud.

So Now What?

Now Ohio State will monitor the transfer portal to see if a unicorn pops up. That unicorn will need to be good enough to play but also be perfectly fine with never taking a snap. For that reason, don’t expect any unicorns to emerge in the Buckeyes’ viewfinder.

One Concern

Ryan Day’s ideal situation at quarterback involves the Buckeyes having four scholarship quarterbacks, but he understands that’s a lot harder to make happen than it used to be. As such, the depth isn’t what he would prefer, but you can imagine the number of tiny violins that the nation’s other head coaches would play for him should he complain.

Are We Sure?

Are we sure CJ Stroud has become the vocal leader that the Buckeyes need him to be? Based on what the media sees, he is a quieter guy by nature, but as a starting quarterback he can’t just lead by example.

Quotable

“The thing I think with C.J. is he still hasn’t played a lot. He’s played so well and he’s naturally to me extremely smart and visually sees things so well, things I think that are hard to coach. But sometimes when you’re that good that early, it’s the ability of the coaches to make sure they don’t get bored. So as advanced as he gets, that he stays with his fundamentals and he keeps the main thing the main thing and just keeps his feet under him and keeps trusting his coaches. Sometimes you get a lot of notoriety, it’s hard to ‘just keep your feet on the ground and stay grounded.’ He is a tremendous kid though. And he’ll keep working at it. If he keeps working, the great players, to me, I go back and the few times I had a chance to see a guy like Drew Brees have a walk through, it blew me away, a veteran player, how well they did things. So when these young, talented players have such great success, get hyped up, the great ones have a way of staying centered, staying grounded, keeping it simple, listening to their coaches, being great team leaders. He’s off to a great start. I think he’s got a much higher ceiling than you’ve seen. I think he’s unbelievably good and there’s a high ceiling for him to be a special player.” — Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.


Depth Chart

Quarterback

7 CJ Stroud | Redshirt Sophomore | 6-3 218
CJ Stroud was a Heisman finalist last season and is a Heisman favorite this season. He threw for 4,435 yards last season with 44 touchdowns and six interceptions. Stroud finished second nationally in passer rating (186.56) last year, third in completion percentage (71.9%), second in yards per attempt (10.1), third in touchdown passes, and third in passing yards per game (369.6).
6 Kyle McCord | Sophomore | 6-3 220
Kyle McCord completed 25-of-38 pass attempts last season as a true freshman, throwing for 416 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He got the start against Akron and threw for 319 yards, completing 13-of-18 passes with two touchdowns and an interception. He threw passes in five games last season.
15 Devin Brown | Freshman | 6-3 205
Devin Brown enrolled early and took part in spring ball. He is slated to be the No. 3 guy in 2022 before getting an opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2023. Brown was the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2022 class per On3’s rankings. He is the No. 6 quarterback nationally per the 247Sports Composite.