The CFP Semifinal loss to Georgia was as heartbreaking as they come, but when you play in as many big time games as Ohio State, it comes with the territory. Now, where do the Buckeyes go from here?
Who Takes The Reigns at Quarterback?
It is no secret that Ohio State is losing one of the best quarterbacks in the country with CJ Stroud declaring for the NFL Draft. Ryan Day has created a turnstile quarterback room that just keeps putting guys in the NFL, and they will look to replace one of the best signal callers in school history.
The Starting QB at Ohio State is about as close as you can get to actually sitting on a throne in College Football. Not only does the winner become the de-facto leader of the most powerful offense in the sport, but they also inherit extreme fame and will be the beneficiary of extremely lucrative NIL opportunities. Let's break down the candidates who will seek to wear the Scarlet and Gray crown.
A former 5-Star prospect in the class of 2021 who enters his third year within the program. He is the perceived favorite by many to take over the offense for Stroud, and unlike many QBs that have fought for an open position, he actually has a start under his belt.
In 2021, while Stroud was nursing a shoulder injury, McCord started a home game against Akron. He finished the game 13 for 18 with 319 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. It isn't much of a sample size, but it is the most we've had for a possible starter since Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow battled each other after Haskins came in and won the 2017 Michigan Game after a JT Barrett injury.
Another advantage that McCord holds in this competition is the fact that he was high-school teammates with the best Wide Receiver in College Football as he and Marvin Harrison both attended St. Josephs in Philadelphia, PA. Harrison will be the most important piece of the offense next season, so the chemistry between the two may be enough to win McCord the job.
A high 4-Star prospect in the class of 2022 (#1 overall prospect according to On3), Brown presents a bit of a different skillset than McCord does, and it may be one that gives Ohio State the best chance to be balanced on the offensive side of the football.
Brown does not possess the overall cannon that McCord does, but he certainly doesn't lack in this department like some QBs who have the running abilities that he does. We saw extremely limited action from him in games this season, so the only film we can go off of is the 2022 Spring Game, and his high school highlights.
His ability to be a threat running the ball could also prove to be extremely beneficial in the running game. Defensive Ends have been crashing down on the RBs ever since Justin Fields left the program 2 seasons ago. This could be the final piece needed to make the offense truly unstoppable on a week in and week out basis. That is something College Football does not want to see.
A member of the 2023 recruiting class, Kienholz was an extremely late addition to the QB room. Brock Glenn had been committed to Ohio State since the summer, but after a less than stellar senior season, the Buckeyes made it clear that they would be looking somewhere else for the 2023 signal caller.
Kienholz is a 3-Sport star athlete from South Dakota, who instead of being more of the prototypical pocket passer Ryan Day has recruited in the past, is a dual threat option who relies on his legs to keep his offense moving. He was the Gatorade Player Of The Year in South Dakota this season with a stat line of: 3,422 yards with 46-6 TD-INT ratio and completed 66.5% of his passes. Ran for 1,436 yards and 24 TDs. He also racked up 12 tackles and four INTs on defense.
My Pick: Devin Brown
Kyle McCord is definitely the favorite to win this job, and has the most time in the program, but I think Ryan Day will ultimately choose Devin Brown to be QB1 when Ohio State takes on Indiana on September 2nd. Brown has the arm talent that McCord does, but has a greater upside when it comes to making plays outside of the pocket.
We all saw how CJ Stroud made plays against Georgia when the plays broke down. If Ohio State wants to win a National Championship in 2023, it is going to need that ability from its Quarterback. Devin Brown has the highest ceiling of any QB on the roster, and gives the offense as a whole the highest ceiling.
Whoever the pick is, the Buckeyes will be in good hands. This should be an exciting battle that will captivate the fans and insiders for the next eight months.