C.J. Stroud hadn't thrown a pass in college until the first game of the 2021 season.
Less than three months later, the redshirt freshman quarterback has swept several of the Big Ten's most prestigious individual awards after his first regular season as a starter for the Buckeyes.
The California native was named Wednesday as the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year, Quarterback of the Year and Freshman of the Year – the first player ever to win all three in the same season – having led the conference this season with 3,862 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 182.2 in just 11 games for Ohio State.
Stroud extends Ohio State's reign over the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honor to four straight years, as Dwayne Haskins won it in 2018 and Justin Fields took it home in back-to-back seasons for his efforts in 2019 and 2020. An Ohio State quarterback has now won the Big Ten's Quarterback of the Year award for six straight years, with either J.T. Barrett, Haskins, Fields or Stroud earning the honor every season since 2016.
No Buckeye had won the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year award since former Ohio State running back Mike Weber did so in 2016, and Stroud is the first Buckeye quarterback to win it since Barrett in 2014.
Stroud set multiple Ohio State records in 2021, including throwing for a freshman-record 484 yards in just his second career start in Week 2 against Oregon, a total that doubled as the second-most yards any Ohio State quarterback has ever thrown in a game. Stroud also set a school record in the first half against Michigan State on Nov. 20 with 17 consecutive pass completions. In the same game, Stroud tied four other Buckeyes for the most single-game passing touchdowns, with six in the first half alone.
After 11 starts, Stroud is already top-10 all-time in career passing touchdowns at Ohio State, with his 38 being more than all but nine players in Buckeye history. Only Haskins (50 in 2018) and Fields (41 in 2019) have ever passed for more touchdowns in a single season, and Stroud's single-season passing yardage total is second only to Haskins' 4,831 in 2018.