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Evaluating Ohio State’s QB situation with C.J. Stroud headed to NFL

New quarterback, same as the old quarterback. Talent replaces talent.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Michigan at Ohio State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

C.J. Stroud was a great college quarterback.

Stroud may have gone 0-2 against the Michigan Wolverines, but his decision to head to the NFL weakens the Buckeyes at the position until proven otherwise. Michigan’s odds to three-peat as Big Ten Champions and beat the Buckeyes for a third consecutive year just increased. However, there are some caveats to that statement, which we’ll get to shortly.

Stroud, a Heisman finalist in consecutive seasons, will be a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and could ultimately be the first overall pick. Stroud set 17 Ohio State passing records and threw for an astounding 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns at OSU. While Stroud will be difficult to replace, Ohio State seems to always produce high-caliber collegiate quarterbacks — J.T. Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, Justin Field, and then C.J. Stroud. It’s fair to say whoever comes next will succeed more than he’ll fail.

For Michigan fans that have an excitement about Stroud leaving, I utter the classic Lee Corso line, “not so fast, my friend!”

Ohio State will have a quarterback competition between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown.

McCord is particularly interesting due to his relationship with star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. McCord and Harrison Jr. won three state championships together at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep. McCord, who stands 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is a former five-star prospect and currently has the fifth-best odds of winning the Heisman next season. McCord has functional mobility in his game and possesses a strong arm, and the fact he and Harrison Jr. have such a great rapport should scare all of college football.

McCord was 16-of-20 this season for 190 yards and one touchdown. During McCord’s freshman campaign in 2021, he started one game (Stroud was injured) and appeared in five. McCord was 25-of-38 for 416 yards, with two touchdowns, and two interceptions in 2021.

There’s also Devin Brown, who’s more mobile than McCord, but also younger and more raw. The Canton, Utah native had an insane senior year in high school in 2021, amassing 4,881 yards and 57 touchdowns. Ohio State loves Brown’s skill set, but there’s also no doubt he’s playing catch up and will have to really impress this spring.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has already indicated he’s in no rush to name a starting quarterback and it’s going to go into the spring. There’s a good chance it drags on until fall camp and there’s no true starter until their season opener versus Indiana. In short, McCord should be the favorite, but Brown shouldn’t be counted out just yet.

Whether it’s McCord or Brown, Ohio State’s quarterback will have a plethora of great playmakers to work with on offense — wideouts Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka are returning, tight end Cade Stover will be back, as will the talented running back tandem of s TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams.

Michigan’s gotten the better of Ohio State lately, but the Buckeyes will never go away and they’ll always reload. The war will never end, and Michigan must be prepared for a tough fight come November 25 at Michigan Stadium.