Of the quarterbacks ready to be picked at the top of the NFL draft, C.J. Stroud ran the ball the least during college.
As Stroud performs at the NFL Scouting Combine this week and continues his preparation for the draft in April, he has assured coaches, executives and scouts from professional organizations that his lack of running at Ohio State doesn't mean he won't use his legs when he reaches the league.
"I told them like I'll tell y'all," Stroud said to a room full of reporters in Indianapolis. "I didn't do it a lot in college. I feel like I should have, and that's something I regret."
"I didn't do it a lot in college. I feel like I should have, and that's something I regret."– C.J. Stroud on running the football
In Stroud's 26 games for Ohio State across three seasons, he carried the ball 80 times for 136 yards and one touchdown – a 48-yard score against Michigan State in his first appearance as a Buckeye in 2020. Beyond his touchdown, Stroud rushed 32 times for -20 yards in 2021 and 47 times for 108 yards in 2022, including a 34-yard performance against top-ranked Georgia in the College Football Playoff.
"I feel like I could have done it a lot more," Stroud said. "But if you turn on the film and watch what I do game to game, you see that I have used my athleticism – not just in the Georgia game, where I did it a lot, but in every other game. I've had tough third-down runs and tough fourth-down runs.
"But there were times that I didn't run the ball where I should have. That's something I have learned. That's what football is all about. It's about stepping back up to the plate, working hard and fixing those problems. I'll show it on my pro day and out there (at the combine) my ability to run and escape pressure. I've done it before on film, but some people don't think I could do it. I'm gonna do it again."
Stroud claimed he was "dealing with some hamstrings" throughout the 2022 season, something neither Stroud nor Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and his staff revealed during the year. When the Buckeyes had time off between the Michigan and Georgia games, the California native said he felt "really healthy" heading into the CFP matchup with the Bulldogs, which resulted in his best performance as a runner for the scarlet and gray.
At the combine, Stroud said he feels the same as before the playoff, offering him great confidence to perform well in every workout. Now, all the Ohio State quarterback has to do is go out there and prove it.