The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
C.J. Stroud is coming to Columbus.
The nation's No. 2-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2020 class signed with Ohio State, bringing a long, notorious, entertaining and sometimes convoluted saga to a satisfying end if you're a Buckeyes fan.
The Stroud File
- Class: 2020
- Size: 6-foot-2.5/194 lbs
- Pos: QB
- School: Rancho Cucamonga High School (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 2 PRO
Now, the process will begin in earnest for who will capture the backup spot behind Justin Fields in 2020. Will it be longtime Ohio State commit Jack Miller or Stroud?
After that, the competition could turn into what has the potential to be the most interesting quarterback battle in the nation in two years when 2021 commit Kyle McCord arrives.
That's the future. As for the present, what Stroud's commitment signals is that even when there is already a highly rated quarterback already set to come to Columbus, Ryan Day can work his magic and strong reputation as a quarterback developer to lure the best to his program.
HE BROUGHT HIS OWN BANNER. AND IT'S SPECTACULAR. pic.twitter.com/CMYvt5BNeV— Eleven Warriors (@11W) December 18, 2019
Miller has been committed to Ohio State since July 1, 2018, but the Chaparral (Ariz.) High School star from Scottsdale saw his stock plummet rankings-wise because of injuries, many of which occurred due to a shaky offensive line. When he is healthy, Miller is one of the most impressive quarterback prospects on the market, and he has the makings of being a star.
The problem – and, really, this can be seen as a good problem or a bad problem depending on your opinion – is that Stroud has the same star potential.
The All-American Bowl honoree was an off-the-radar three-star prospect ranked in the mid-200s by 247Sports heading into the 2019 summer, and then it happened.
Stroud, a quarterback for Trent Dilfer's Nike Elite 11 program, exploded onto the scene by shredding his competition in The Opening Finals and was named the 7-on-7 event's MVP as he was throwing to guys he has now become future teammates with (Julian Fleming and Gee Scott Jr.). He was also teammates with Lejond Cavazos at The Opening and Miller, but Miller had to sit out with an injury.
After that MVP performance, Stroud saw his reputation grow, as he was bumped up to a four-star prospect, and a jolt of interest from Georgia, Oregon, Baylor, Michigan and UCLA grew stronger.
Stroud announced his offer on Oct. 8, just three days after an unofficial visit to Columbus for the Michigan State game, and he was offered by Michigan in early November after the Wolverines' three-star 2020 quarterback commit JD Johnson had to retire from football due to a heart condition.
Stroud then made an official visit to Georgia, canceled an official visit to Oregon to indicate the Ducks were out of the race for his commitment, made another official visit to Michigan and then made a return trip to Columbus on the weekend of Dec. 14 for an official visit. That visit sealed the deal, as the Buckeyes were able to make the last strong impression on the quarterback to secure his late commitment.
Stroud was not just taking these visits for the thrill of the experience of being courted by some of the best programs in the nation. He was thorough and complete in this process, and after weighing out all of his options, Mike Yurcich's quarterbacks room will be his new home.
Helping secure the Buckeyes' 26th overall commitment and 14th four-star commitment in the 2020 class was Quincy Avery.
Avery is Stroud's personal quarterback trainer, and Avery held the same role for both Fields and Dwayne Haskins. Now, time will tell where Stroud ends up on the pantheon between the three highly skilled passers. Let the comparisons between Stroud, Fields and Haskins fly. They won't be unwarranted correlations in terms of guys who will (or could, in Stroud's case) go down as one of the best QBs in program history.