The Race is On: Ryan Day, Ohio State Already Have Plenty of Long-term Options at Quarterback

By Andrew Ellis on April 7, 2019 at 8:30 am
J.J. McCarthy is one of four 2020 quarterbacks the Buckeyes are heavily targeting.
Lorenzo Styles Jr., J.J. McCarthy, Emeka Egbuka

We've said it countless times, but quarterback recruiting is an entirely different animal than the other position groups. The country's top talent tends to commit a bit earlier in the process and coaching staffs have to handle things a little differently given that most programs can only take a single quarterback – or at least only one of the highly touted variety – each recruiting cycle. 

Sophomore Justin Fields and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin are battling it out this spring with senior Chris Chugunov in the mix to provide some depth. It's not the deepest quarterback room, and at some point the Buckeyes will likely need to take two in a single recruiting class. Arizona's Jack Miller was Ryan Day's top 2020 target and the country's No. 70 overall prospect has been committed since last July.

The future is clearly bright at the position, and the search is already well underway for the Class of 2021. Several visits have gone down of late and again it's worth noting that things tend to move rather quickly at the position. It's only April – nearly two years away from signing day – and two of the top five 2021 quarterbacks are already committed.

For the time being, it's looking like Ohio State's focus is on four prospects from across the country. The race is officially on as the Buckeyes could fill the spot sometime in the coming months.

Jake Garcia • Harbor City, California (Narbonne) • 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

Out of all the names on our list, California's Jake Garcia may be the one we know the least about. Mike Yurcich ventured out west in January and an offer was extended to the Narbonne High quarterback. Ryan Day has some ties to California and Ohio State has had some success with guys like Wyatt Davis and Chris Olave. 

Garcia is hoping to get to campus sometime this summer but as of now those plans are still very much in the works. He's got offers from all over the country and recently checked out Alabama and Auburn. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound pro-style passer has also made trips to Austin and Baton Rouge. His lone crystal ball submission favors Nebraska.

Drake Maye • Cornelius, North Carolina (Myers Park) • 6-foot-4, 200 pounds 

Luke Maye and the Tarheels were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament this year by the Auburn Tigers. His younger brother Drake is one of the top quarterbacks in the Class of 2021. The family has strong ties to Chapel Hill as their father, Mark, played quarterback for UNC back in the 80's. Needless to say, it's not a big surprise that many are expecting Drake Maye to follow a similar path. 

The Buckeyes extended an offer back in November and got Maye on campus just a few weeks back when his brother was playing in Columbus. It was his second visit to Ohio State, and by all accounts it could not have gone much better. He's got offers from Alabama, Michigan and all across the country. It'll be a tall task keeping him from Chapel Hill, but Ryan Day has the Buckeyes positioned quite nicely at the moment.

J.J. McCarthy • La Grange Park, Illinois (Nazareth Academy) • 6-foot-2, 180 pounds

I'm not sure if J.J. McCarthy is the top priority at the position, but I do think he's the guy Ohio State could potentially get right now if the staff wanted to do so. He's got offers from all over the Midwest as well as from LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. Notre Dame and Ohio State were thought to be the early favorites, but things got a bit more interesting last month when the Irish landed a different 2021 quarterback.

McCarthy was in Columbus two weekends ago when the staff hosted several of its top 2021 targets. Northwestern, Michigan, and Wisconsin are all very much in play for the Illinois product, though he's not planning on rushing into a decision. Last year he led Nazareth Academy to the 7A state championship. McCarthy threw for nearly 3,500 yards with 39 touchdowns to just four interceptions. 247 Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong has logged a crystal ball pick in favor of the Buckeyes.

Kyle McCord • Philadelphia (St. Joseph's) • 6-foot-3, 195 pounds 

The recruitment of Philadelphia's Kyle McCord seems likely to come down to Ohio State and Penn State. Another pro-style passer, he's scheduled to be back in Columbus for next weekend's spring game festivities and there are several who believe the Buckeyes are at the top of his list at the moment. 

Ohio State may have another thing working in its favor: 2021 wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The duo are teammates at Philly's St. Joseph's Prep School and Harrison Jr. is listed as the country's No. 16 overall prospect for the class. He hasn't been shy on his affinity for Ohio State and will also be in town next weekend.

Ryan Day's development of Dwayne Haskins was clearly a factor in Justin Fields' transfer to Ohio State, and it's also paying off on the recruiting trail. The addition of Jack Miller and potentially one of the best in the 2021 class will only solidify the Buckeyes' talent at the most important position on the field.

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