C.J. Stroud will be Ohio State’s new starting quarterback.
Buckeye head coach Ryan Day made it official Saturday, ending the three-man position battle that has been waged since Justin Fields departed from the program following the 2020 season.
Day said last week that Stroud, the longstanding frontrunner for the job, had separated himself from the competition during fall camp, but did not officially announce him as the starter.
Stroud, a four-star recruit and the No. 42 overall prospect in the class of 2020, committed to the Buckeye program on Early Signing Day in December 2019.
While fellow heralded Buckeye recruit J.T. Tuimoloau changed the very definition of “late commitment” when he joined Ohio State’s class of 2021 just one month before preseason camp opened, Stroud’s own commitment came nearly 18 months after four-star Arizona quarterback prospect Jack Miller committed to the Buckeyes’ 2019 class.
Stroud and Miller both entered the program as early enrollees in January 2020, and despite neither one attempting a pass in backup duty to Justin Fields, each player scored a rushing touchdown as they split series at the end of a few games this past season.
When Fields left the Sugar Bowl for a play due to an apparent rib and hip injury though, it was Stroud that got the nod from the Buckeye coaching staff, which seemed to indicate he may have been the leader of the pack in the race to replace Fields.
Another highly-touted prospect joined the competition at the top of 2021 though, as Philadelphia native Kyle McCord entered the program as the No. 28 overall player in the latest Ohio State recruiting class.
During this past April’s spring game, all three had their shot at impressing the Buckeye coaching staff and fans alike. Stroud tossed a pair of touchdowns and 185 yards with no turnovers while leading the Buckeye offense on three scoring drives, McCord went 12-for-17 with 184 yards and two scores, and Miller finished 17-for-30 passing with 128 yards, no TDs and an interception.
Stroud took the bulk of the first-team reps in both spring and fall practice sessions that were open to the media this offseason, but Day and the Ohio State coaching staff remained tight-lipped on the competition all throughout the process.
The proverbial cat is out of the bag now though, and the Buckeyes have their quarterback of the future –– or at least the present.