It's official: C.J. Stroud will begin the season as Ohio State's starting quarterback.
Stroud was officially named QB1 by Ryan Day on Saturday morning after the Buckeyes wrapped up their third week of preseason camp.
“We are gonna name C.J. Stroud the starting quarterback for the Minnesota game,” Day said. “So he will work hard over the weekend and then into next week starting to prepare for Minnesota. I thought over the body of work between the spring and then also through preseason, separated himself with his decision-making, his leadership skills and his accuracy. So now we’ve gotta go prepare to go play a game. But proud of him, happy for him.”
A four-star quarterback in the recruiting class of 2020, Stroud had been viewed as the frontrunner to be this year's starting quarterback since last season, when he was the No. 2 quarterback behind Justin Fields. That said, he had to compete for the job all offseason with fellow second-year quarterback Jack Miller and five-star freshman Kyle McCord.
Stroud appeared to be in the pole position in that competition all along, though, and his performance over the last three weeks sealed the deal. Day had already said on Monday that Stroud had started to separate from McCord and Miller in the competition, and another strong week of practices was enough for Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis to commit to Stroud leading the Buckeyes' offense this year, at least to begin the season.
Like every other quarterback on the roster, Stroud has never thrown a pass in an actual collegiate game. But he appears to have the skill set to run Ohio State's offense in a similar fashion to Fields. While he doesn't quite have Fields' elite speed, he has the arm to throw the ball to all areas of the field as well as the mobility to extend plays outside of the pocket and take off when needed.
He'll still have a lot to prove once the games begin, and just because he's named the starter to begin the season doesn't guarantee that he'll be the starter all year long. McCord and Miller will continue to compete for position on the depth chart behind him, while Quinn Ewers has also entered the mix after officially joining the team last weekend. While the ideal scenario would certainly be one in which Stroud stays healthy and excels all season, Day has repeatedly emphasized this preseason that there's “a long way to January” and that the Buckeyes could need multiple quarterbacks along the way in order to accomplish their goals.
Now that the Buckeyes are shifting gears from the camp portion of the preseason to preparing for their Sept. 2 season opener at Minnesota, however, Day decided it was time to bring the starting quarterback competition to an end and give Stroud the keys to the offense for the first game of the season against the Gophers.