C.J. Stroud leads a talented cast at the QB position

By: 
Harold Hamilton

You cannot win games without scoring points. Do not be worried. Ohio State once again will have one of the best offences you have ever seen. 

No question that 6-foot-3, 218 pound sophomore C.J. Stroud should be the starting quarterback this fall after a year where he had a 72% pass completion with 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He was clearly far above his two competitors in the spring game and they have some pretty good credentials. 

Add a bit more leadership skills and a few scampers to Stroud’s resume by next fall and he may well get the Heisman Trophy, which many think he should have received in 2021. 

Stroud made the fewest mistakes in the game, completing 14 of 22 passes for 120 yards and a TD. New defensive coach Jim Knowles said Stroud reminds him of retired NFL quarterback Eli Manning, who played at Ole Miss when Knowles coached there. That is quite a compliment.

Kyle McCord, a 6-3, 220-pound sophomore was the second quarterback used, said to have the strongest arm of the three and is the apparent back up QB. He threw for 129 yards, completing 14-of-20 and a TD pass to 6-5, 245-pound sophomore tight end Joe Royer. 

McCord enrolled in classes at OSU in January of 2021. At that time, he was the nation’s No. 25 ranked high school player regardless of position, the No. 3 quarterback and a five-star prospect according to 247Sports. He set high school league records for career passing yards at 6,887 and touchdown passes at 88 at St. Joseph’s Prep in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

Devin Brown, at 6-3, 205-pounds, is the probable No. 3 quarterback. A new recruited freshman who came in early and is rated as a five star player out of high school, he still has a black stripe on his helmet (every incoming freshman has a black stripe on their helmet that remains until the player makes a strong enough impression for it to be removed). 

Brown completed 11 of 24 passes for 141 yards and one TD pass to 5-9, 188-pound sophomore wide receiver Reis Stocksdale. While there is a substantial difference in these QBs McCord and Brown have significant talent and will undoubtedly be much improved by next fall but will not replace Stroud.

The running backs with returning 5-10, 215-pound sophomore TreVeyon Henderson, 5-8, 225-pound sophomore Miyan Williams and new recruit, 5-10-, 198-pound redshirt freshman Evan Pryor will be explosive if the spring game is any indication. It will be hard for the coach to decide who will get the most carries. 

The receiving corps is as good as the running backs, starting with Smith-Njigba, who had 1,600 yards receiving and 95 catches last year along with a 347-yard Rose Bowl performance. That set a record for any bowl game. Also showing promise is 6-2, 215-pound senior Xavier Johnson, 6-2, 205-pound sophomore Emeka Egbuka, 6-3, 205-pound sophomore Marvin Harrison Jr and Royer.

The offensive line is great and has a massive, experienced group of seniors including, Dawand Jones at 6-8 and 360 pounds. Depth, however, may be a concern. 

The defense should be dangerous with a new strategy and returning talent like with Ronnie Hickman, a 6-1, 205-pound junior safety with 100 tackles last year

In the post-game press conference, Day said the team had a very good spring and was coming along well but still needed a lot of improving. Day also noted that Ohio State is not an NFL team where we can still win the championship if we have losses. He said, at Ohio State, you must win every game.

Every year Ohio State has some of the highest numbers of players drafted into the NFL. Today many football players have a very strong desire to enjoy the fame and fortune that being an NFL player can provide. That is one of the reasons Ohio State is able to recruit so much talent consistently. That is also why many leave college as soon as they are eligible for the NFL draft (must be 3 years out of high school). 

After the spring game, the Buckeyes lost five recruits to the transfer portal probably because they felt their chances to get the exposure needed for an NFL draft were limited if they were in a backup position. A few years ago, now Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was one of those who transferred out of OSU in his senior year for the very same reason. It was a very smart move on his part. 

Rest easy Buckeye fans, with the improved and new talent along with new coaching strategy the fall season and particularly the November game in The Shoe this year will be different, even against that improved team up north.

(Harold Hamilton is a freelance photographer from Northwood)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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