Signed: Air Noland Brings Five-Star Talent to Ohio State and Adds Next-Level Accuracy With a Quick Release to the Buckeyes' Quarterback Room

By Chase Brown on December 20, 2023 at 7:30 am
Air Noland

After then-No. 1 overall prospect Dylan Raiola decommitted from Ohio State in February, the Buckeyes were in need of a talented signal-caller in the 2024 class.

Enter Air Noland.

A five-star prospect from Fairburn, Georgia, Noland is the No. 36 overall prospect and No. 4 quarterback in the class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. While Noland ranks behind Julian Sayin (Alabama), Raiola (Georgia) and DJ Lagway (Florida) at his position, hundredths of points separate the 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw from being the top-ranked quarterback in 2024.

Noland’s talent, as well as his on-field production, are among several reasons he contends for the No. 1 spot.

The Noland File

  • Size: 6-3 / 195
  • Pos: QB
  • School: Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Georgia)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #36 (#4 QB) 

To complete his third season at Langston Hughes in 2022, Noland led his school to a Georgia state championship. The Panthers defeated the Gainsville Red Elephants, 35-28, at Georgia State’s Center Parc Stadium. Noland was later named the Georgia Region 5 6A Player of the Year and a MaxPreps Junior All-American for his performances, which included 236 completions on 323 attempts (73%), 4,095 yards and 55 scores – the third-most touchdown passes in state history behind Aaron Philo and K’Hari Lane (56) ahead of Trevor Lawrence (51) and Deshaun Watson (50).

A few months later, on April 8, Noland committed to Ohio State. He picked the Buckeyes over Alabama, Miami (FL), Oregon, Texas A&M and others.

“Ohio State’s coaching staff has done a great job recruiting me between Coach (Ryan) Day, Coach (Corey) Dennis and Coach (Brian) Hartline,” Noland told Eleven Warriors before his commitment. “They think I have the right intangibles and all the right things to play quarterback for Ohio State. I think Coach Dennis does a great job with the quarterbacks, and Coach Day and Coach Hartline’s offensive system is a quarterback-oriented offense. … (I’ve seen) how explosive this offense can be. I’m very excited, and I can’t wait to get to Columbus.”

With over eight months between his commitment and when he will enroll early in January 2024, Noland had to contain his excitement for some time. However, there were some notable events to pass the time.

Noland competed at the Elite 11 in June, and after three days of competition, he accompanied Sayin and Raiola as a top performer at the event. Two weeks later, Noland received his fifth star in the 247Sports composite, officially making him the sixth five-star to commit to – and eventually sign with – Ohio State out of high school, along with Craig Krenzel, Terelle Pryor, Braxton Miller, Quinn Ewers and Kyle McCord. 

From there, Noland returned to Langston Hughes in 2023 and completed 149 of 224 passes (66.5%) for 2,140 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions, leading Langston Hughes to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Panthers were unable to repeat as champions and were knocked out of the postseason in the second round.

Across four high school seasons, Noland picked apart defenses from inside and outside the pocket, leaning on a quick release and pinpoint precision to complete 636 of 942 passes (67.5%) for 10,164 yards, 126 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. He also showed occasional elusiveness at the quarterback position, recording 334 rushing yards and seven scores on 111 carries.

In January, Noland will enter Day and Dennis’ quarterback room behind Devin Brown and Lincoln Kienholz. Ohio State’s 2023 starter, Kyle McCord, transferred to Syracuse in December, and veteran Tristan Gebbia completed his seven-year college career with the Buckeyes this season.

Noland plans to maximize those talents and hone his craft at Ohio State, where he wants to compete for Big Ten championships and national titles for the Buckeyes. He plans to win some individual awards, too.

“I’m going in there to compete for a conference championship and national championship and hopefully win the Heisman someday,” Noland told 247Sports in April. “I’m very excited. I think the right time is now. I’m happy to say I’m a Buckeye. The class that the Buckeyes are going to get will be a heck of a class.

“Everybody at Ohio State wants to make it to the next level, which is the NFL. When you have teammates who want to accomplish similar goals you want to accomplish, it will push you to maximize every opportunity. They’re getting pushed at Ohio State, whether it’s the coaches or players, each and every day. Everybody wants to get the same end results – to get to a conference championship, beat ‘That Team Up North’ and win a national championship.”

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