Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was a hot commodity as a recruit. A 247Sports five-star out of Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High, Stroud had plenty of West Coast schools after him on the trail, including this week’s Ohio State opponent in Oregon.
Speaking with the media Monday, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal reflected on Stroud’s recruitment and what it’s like to see him in Ohio State’s offense now. He didn’t shy away from the fact that the Ducks really wanted him.
“He’s a guy we really recruited and really wanted here; poise and accuracy,” Cristobal said. “He can make plays with his arm and his feet. He has complete understanding and command of the offense. Kind of like what he showed the other day. He can make every throw. He’s really smart. He’s a guy who when you watched in high school just understood his protections, he knew where he was protected and where he wasn’t. Just overall, a great player. A difference-maker in high school.”
Stroud was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for what he did in leading the Buckeyes to a win against Minnesota. The quarterback finished the game by completing 13 of his 22 pass attempts for 294 yards and four touchdowns and one interception.
The 294 passing yards from Stroud are the second-most by a Buckeye quarterback in his first career start since 2000. Stroud is one of just nine quarterbacks in the FBS to pass for four-plus touchdowns in a game so far this young season. He is the first Scarlet and Gray player to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, his first such honor, since Tate Martell in September of 2018.
On SportsCenter Saturday morning, ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit said he sees Stroud really owning the position in the coming weeks.
“Well I think CJ Stroud got off to a good start,” Herbstreit said. “The first half, he struggled obviously and then the game settled, Ryan Day, one of the better coaches and making changes on that side of the football and once he settled in. The reason I say that, it’s the combination of his skill set. Ryan Day’s experience of working with quarterbacks and bringing out the best of them, making it an easy transition. And then what’s around it. I mean we all knew what Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson (brought to the table), but you got a taste of TreVeyon Henderson….and they’re just loaded in that backfield, loaded out wide.
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“So now that Stroud went through a little adversity in that first half, I think that you’ll see him really take off and really start to own that position. So, just based on what we saw, I thought that preseason, but after watching him play in that second half on the road by the way, conference game, it was impressive.”
Nick Kosko, Bucknuts’ Patrick Murphy and Duck Territory’s Erik Skopil contributed to this report.