C.J. Stroud’s Ohio State career is over.
After taking some time to weigh his options ahead of Monday’s deadline to enter the 2023 NFL draft, the Ohio State quarterback officially announced he would be going pro on Monday, bringing his Buckeye career to an end after three years including two as Ohio State’s starting QB.
Proverbs 3:5,6 pic.twitter.com/FdA2ftqQFJ— CJ Stroud (@CJ7STROUD) January 16, 2023
In his farewell post on social media, Stroud said his decision to leave Ohio State was “one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make.”
“As a kid, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after much prayer, I’ve made the decision that it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality,” Stroud wrote. “This ain’t goodbye...Buckeye for Life!”
While his late announcement led to speculation that Stroud would stay at Ohio State for his senior season, his decision to enter this year’s draft had been expected for the past year.
Stroud is projected to be the third Ohio State quarterback selected in the top 15 picks of the NFL draft in a five-year span, joining Dwayne Haskins (No. 15 overall pick in 2019) and Justin Fields (11th pick in 2021). He’s widely projected to be the first Buckeye quarterback selected in the top 10 picks in more than 40 years, as Art Schlichter (No. 4 overall in 1982) is the only Ohio State QB who’s ever been drafted in the top 10.
It’s not out of the question that Stroud could even be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, though he faces competition from Alabama’s Bryce Young to be the top quarterback drafted. Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are among the other quarterbacks who have been projected as potential early first-round picks.
He leaves Ohio State as one of the most prolific passers in school history. He’s Ohio State’s career leader in passer rating (182.4), passing yards per game (324.9) and 300-yard passing games (15) and ranks second in school history in career completion percentage (69.3), passing yards (8,123) and passing touchdowns (85). He won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors in both of his two seasons as Ohio State’s starting quarterback and is the only Ohio State quarterback to ever be a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist.
With Stroud’s departure, junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown are now set to compete for Ohio State’s starting quarterback job in 2023.
Stroud joins a list of Buckeyes entering the 2023 NFL draft that also includes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, tight end Mitch Rossi, offensive tackles Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones, center Luke Wypler, defensive end Zach Harrison, defensive tackles Jerron Cage and Taron Vincent, cornerback Cameron Brown, safeties Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister, kicker Noah Ruggles and long snapper Bradley Robinson.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is at midnight. Seniors with an extra year of eligibility, however, have until Feb. 3 to decide whether to keep their names in the draft or return to school. Four such seniors for Ohio State – wide receiver Kamryn Babb, defensive end Tyler Friday, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV and safety Josh Proctor – have not yet announced whether or not they will stay at Ohio State for the 2023 season.