Times are difficult and stressful for athletes everywhere, especially high schoolers who are trying to stay on top of their game, remain in shape and as polished as possible ahead of the uncertainty that lies ahead.
As we have discussed before, guys are doing everything they can amid the circumstances. From putting together a de facto home gym like Paris Johnson Jr., using their beds as a bench press like Mike Hall, hitting sand pits to improve their footwork like Centerville (Ohio) High School quarterback Chase Harrison, or working with a personal trainer every single day like Lejond Cavazos, there’s been no shortage of talented players getting creative to stay ahead.
That list includes future Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord, the five-star signal-caller out of St. Joseph’s Prep High School in Philadelphia who is currently ranked 22nd overall and is the No. 3-ranked pro-style quarterback in America’s 2021 class. If the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior-to-be signed with the Buckeyes today, he would be the highest-ranked quarterback recruit since Terrelle Pryor in 2008 to sign with Ohio State out of high school.
Look at my QB https://t.co/8HHj0S03au— Evan Pryor (@evanpryor3) April 1, 2020
(Pryor was ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 at dual-threat quarterback, Braxton Miller was ranked No. 29 overall and No. 2 at dual-threat quarterback in 2011, and Justin Fields was ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 at dual-threat quarterback in 2018 but signed with Georgia before transferring to Ohio State in 2019.)
McCord’s future teammates have faith in him to become a tremendous college player, and his presence is one reason for the class continuing to build into something special.
“I’m very excited to play with Kyle,” running back Evan Pryor told Eleven Warriors. “He’s going to be great in the future. We complement each other well, too. He’s a true gunslinger, in my eyes. Just sits back and can pick you apart and deliver them all on a dime. I can’t wait.”
Added offensive lineman Ben Christman: “He’s a great guy, and I’m excited we’re gonna be teammates. He’s gonna be a great player and leader for us.”
Even players who will have to go up against him in future practices are excited about it.
“I think his potential is unlimited," defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “He's got all the tools to be a phenomenal player for many years and even in the NFL. And I'm super excited to go up against him in practice because I'm going to be going up against the best.
“I think he's more athletic than people give him credit for. So going up against a quarterback like him that can move around in the pocket is going to be great for when we play teams with versatile quarterbacks.”
McCord is doing what he can to ensure he stays that way, putting in offseason work despite the nationwide shutdowns of businesses, gyms and schools making it more difficult to do so.
He is also working to live up to the prestigious name of his high school, as St. Joseph's Prep put three players into the NFL Draft over the weekend – running back D’Andre Swift (second round to the Lions), cornerback John Reid (fourth round to the Texans) and offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. (sixth round to the Packers) – among 10 players in the state of Pennsylvania drafted this year.
Best high school in the nation. https://t.co/Dv4Cn7E5Fx— Kyle McCord (@kylemccord16) April 25, 2020
Eleven Warriors caught up with the Buckeye commit this week to see how he has been handling that workload.
11W: What has your weekly schedule looked like as far as your workouts and throwing schedule? Where have you been going to throw and who have you been working with?
McCord: I’ve been working out seven days a week doing a variety of things. Trying to find every single way to get better. I’ve been throwing 2-3 times a week, with my older brother. I’ve been working with Phil Simms as much as I can at my local turf field.
11W: Can you tell us a little more about your work with Phil Simms? How did you get introduced to him and how has he helped you grow as a passer?
McCord: Simms reached out to my dad after my sophomore year in the winter. He’s been huge in my development. I work with him and his son, and they have really taken my game to the next level. Throwing from off-balance platforms, throwing on the run, moving in the pocket – all of that, they have helped me with. It’s been huge.
11W: I saw some of those off-platform throws you made in (a previous highlight tape). Do you have a background in baseball? Because a couple of those throws looked like a shortstop making a throw, and I’m curious how you’ve been able to polish that up.
McCord: I played baseball when I was young, but I stopped after like fifth grade. I do some unconventional drills with Phil that work throws like that. Stuff I’ve never even thought of, but it really works.
11W: Have the Ohio State coaches given you any sort of workout plan to follow or are you on your own plan?
McCord: I’ve just been on my own plan. On Sunday, I usually lay out that week's workout schedule and follow that. It’s been going really well so far.
11W: How often are you throwing with (2021 Ohio State receiver commit and teammate Marvin Harrison Jr.), and how have you noticed him improve over the last year or so?
McCord: Before (coronavirus), we were throwing a lot. He’s grown so much over the last year. His game has improved so much. Physically, he is better than ever, and he’s also enhancing the mental side of the game too. His work ethics have set him apart. He is elite.
11W: What are your impressions of Coach (Corey) Dennis, and what are you looking forward to the most about working with him at Ohio State?
McCord: My relationship with Coach Dennis has been great. We talk every day, about football and life. I’m so excited to play for him once I get to campus. He’s a great teacher and an even better person to be around. He will prepare me to be the best player that I can be.
11W: What are you looking forward to the most about working with Coach (Ryan) Day?
McCord: To see how many guys Coach Day has coached that went on to have success in the NFL is crazy. That was huge for me. I’m excited to have him develop me into an elite QB. He’s the best coach in the nation.
11W: I know you and Jack Sawyer are hard workers on the recruiting trail yourselves, so how incredible has it been over the past five weeks to see how many talented guys are joining your class?
McCord: It’s been awesome to see our hard work pay off. I’ve been committed for about a year now, and to see where we are now with this recruiting class is awesome. We are off to a great start, but we still have to finish out strong.
11W: Who are some of the main guys you guys are really wanting to bring into this class to make it even more special?