Not that much mystery remained at this point, but Ohio State coach Ryan Day officially revealed the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback on Saturday for the opener at Minnesota set for Sept. 2: redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud. It seemed that Stroud led the quarterback battle since spring practice with 5-star freshman Kyle McCord likely to take on the backup role. That is indeed how it will go.
Stroud will take on enormous expectations immediately, as he owns the fourth-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy as of Saturday evening according to William Hill — behind only Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei and Alabama’s Bryce Young. Still, those expectations exist for a reason.
Dave Biddle of 247Sports’ Ohio State affiliate Bucknuts broke down what Stroud will bring to the scarlet and gray during an appearance on CBS Sports HQ.
“They say he just has been moving the football well, he makes good decisions, he’s accurate, has a strong arm — doesn’t have a cannon,” Biddle said. “He’s also mobile. He’s not as mobile as Justin Fields, but he can do enough. So he can do a little bit of everything, and kind of a late bloomer. Only started two years in high school and keeps getting better and better and better. Started off as a 3-star recruit, worked his way up to a 5-star recruit. They really like C.J. Stroud. They like Kyle McCord behind him. … I expect him to have a big year.”
A native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Stroud was a late riser in the 2020 recruiting class. Not starting for Rancho Cucamonga High School until his junior year while playing other sports in the offseason, Stroud really began to emerge as a top target for college programs during the summer circuit prior to his senior year of high school, turning into a high 4-star prospect and rising to the second-best pro-style quarterback in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The Scarlet and Gray first offered Stroud a scholarship in October of 2019, despite having a fellow four-star quarterback in Jack Miller already committed in his class. Two months later, Stroud committed to Ohio State and signed his National Letter of Intent, turning down offers from Georgia, Michigan, UCLA, USC, Oregon, Baylor and many other top programs.
Day explained why he felt Stroud was Ohio State’s best option.
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“He will work hard over the weekend and then into next week start to prepare for Minnesota,” Day said. “I thought over the body of work between the spring and also through the preseason, he separated himself with his decision making, his leadership skills and his accuracy. Now we’ve got to prepare him to play a game.”
Patrick Murphy of Bucknuts contributed to this report.