Kyle McCord has led Ohio State to a 6-0 start, averaging 36 points a game and finding his way into the good graces of Buckeye fans after sitting behind C.J. Stroud for two seasons before he got his chance. But McCord almost didn’t go to Ohio State.
In 2018, McCord was a sophomore at St. Joseph’s high school in Pennsylvania, and he was being recruited by Penn State. He attended the game in State College against the Dwayne Haskins-led Buckeyes that year which was an eye-opening experience for him.
“I went as a Penn State recruit,” McCord said. “I had the Penn State offer at the time. I did not have an Ohio State offer. It was really one of Dwayne’s first big games and seeing how they used him in the offense, I was like, ‘If Ohio State ever recruits me, I think that would definitely be something to consider seeing the way they’re using Dwayne, the way they’re throwing the ball.’ And it just opened my eyes to it.”
He said that he never saw himself going to Ohio State before that game because the quarterbacks the school was known for at the time were running quarterbacks like Braxton Miller. There wasn’t a great pocket passer that had recently come out of Ohio State, but the way Haskins was used in that game changed his mind.
The Buckeyes won that game 27-26, scoring 20 points in the second half, capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass by Haskins to K.J. Hill with 2:03 left in the game. Haskins finished with 22 completions on 39 attempts for 270 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
McCord never soured on Penn State, he still says he has nothing but good things to say about the school, noting it’s a dream destination for most football players coming out of where he grew up, but he knew Ohio State was the place for him after that.
“When Coach (Ryan) Day gave me the green light to commit,” McCord said, “there was really no doubt that this was the place to be given his track record. But they’re a great school, and obviously they have great talent at every single position, well coached. So, I have nothing but good things to say about Penn State.”
McCord said he remembers talking to his dad after that game, telling him he was considering Ohio State, and now he’s thrown for 1,651 yards and 11 touchdowns this season as QB1 and will be leading the Buckeyes on the field against the Nittany Lions.