After signing two four-star quarterbacks in the 2020 class, Ohio State has already locked up its top target at quarterback in the 2021 class: four-star Kyle McCord.
Ohio State began searching all across the country last spring for its 2021 quarterback, and McCord was the player the Buckeyes circled as their number one target. After getting McCord on campus a few times early in the year, the Buckeyes took an early lead in his recruitment and they never looked back. On April 30, 2019, McCord gave his commitment to Ryan Day and Ohio State.
McCord's sophomore film and stats are what got him on Ohio State's radar so early, and when you look at the tape, it's easy to see why the Buckeyes made him such a priority. His junior film does an even better job at depicting why he will fit so perfectly in Ohio State's offense.
The 6-foot-3 junior out of St. Joseph's Prep High School in Philadelphia can throw the ball anywhere on the field with his college-ready arm strength. He also has uncommon sense of mind in the pocket while also being able to throw with impeccable anticipation.
Those three traits are what make McCord not only a perfect fit at Ohio State but a player who can excel in the Buckeyes' offense.
High-end arm strength
One of the first abilities that you notice when looking at McCord's junior film is his arm strength. Simply put, there is not a throw on the field that he cannot make.
And that does not just mean that he can throw the ball 60 yards, it also means that he can hit the 10-yard out on the left sideline while standing on the right hash. McCord has arm strength that very few high schoolers possess that will only increase once he gets to college, and it's exactly what Ryan Day is looking for in his quarterbacks.
Here are three plays from McCord's junior film that display his high-end arm strength:
- Play one: McCord lines up at quarterback and takes a standard five-step drop back to his own 45-yard line. From there, he slides up in the pocket and unleashes a 55-yard bomb of a pass for a touchdown.
- Play two: He lines up at his own 20-yard line, takes a quick 3-step drop and connects with his receiver, streaking 30 yards down the field in stride, for another touchdown.
- Play three: Very similar to the first play, McCord takes a standard five-yard drop and lets go of a 60-yard pass to hit his receiver in the end zone for a touchdown.
Mature Pocket Presence
As a quarterback, one trait that you either have or you don't is the ability to feel when the rush is coming and get away from it. McCord has that feel in the pocket where if he senses the pressure coming, he will slide or step up to avoid it.
These three plays from McCord's junior film highlight that pocket presence that makes him special:
- Play one: Feeling pressure from his right side, he jogs out to his left while looking downfield. He then sees his wide receiver coming open and throw an accurate 30-yard pass on the run to the back corner of the end zone.
- Play two: This time, he feels the pressure coming up the middle and spins out of it to his left. He then throws a ball to the sideline where only his receiver can catch it for a completion.
- Play three: This time there is pressure all around McCord, so he steps up in the pocket and while getting wrapped up, he flicks it out to the running back for a key first down.
Two phrases that are commonly associated with quarterbacks are "throwing people open" and "drop it in a bucket." Both phrases are a way of saying that the quarterback put the ball where only his receiver can catch it.
McCord is great at doing just that. He throws with anticipation and touch that often makes his receivers look more open than they actually are.
Here are a few plays where you can see McCord's anticipation at work:
- Play one: Knowing the route combination, McCord sees his outside receiver to the top break open to the back corner and he drops a pass in the bucket for an over-the-shoulder touchdown.
- Play two: McCord sees his wide receiver open on the five-yard comeback for an easy competition. However, instead of throwing it to the outside closer to the boundary, McCord throws to the inside past a defender for a large gain.
- Play three: McCord reads that the outside corner is not reading the ball, so he throws it high and away to where only his man can catch it. He anticipates the receiver being able to go up and get the ball.
McCord still has another season to develop before he heads to Columbus, but as of now, he looks like a player that will thrive in Ryan Day's Ohio State offense.