If Ohio (*24*) season is going to go the way the Buckeyes hope, bouncing back from last year’s disappointment to win a Big Ten title and return to the College Football Playoff, the Scarlet and Gray will need C.J. Stroud to be as good as advertised. After finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting a year ago and sweeping the Big Ten awards he was eligible for, more is expected of Stroud in his second season as Ohio (*24*) starting quarterback.
But no program in college football in recent years knows how important a backup quarterback (or two) can be to a team than the Buckeyes. Fortunately, the Scarlet and Gray have a couple of good ones behind Stroud in sophomore Kyle McCord and freshman Devin Brown.
Heading into a marquee Week 1 matchup against Notre Dame, McCord will serve as Stroud’s primary backup, according to head coach Ryan Day.
(*11*) Day said when asked what went into the decision to have McCord ahead of Brown on the depth chart for the opening game. “And then Devin has been — he’s right there too. He’s working really hard. And as the season goes on, he’s going to continue to grow. But going into this first one, Kyle just has a little bit more experience coming into it, understands the offense just a little bit more, has a little bit more under his belt. So we feel like if we need to, that he would be the guy.”
McCord was a five-star prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite, coming out of St. Joseph’s High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was teammates with Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. McCord ranked as the No. 6 quarterback and the No. 28 overall player in the 2021 class.
Brown was not far off in the rankings from McCord. The 247Sports Composite had him as a four-star prospect, but also as the No. 6 quarterback in the 2022 class. Brown, who finished his high school career at Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah, was the No. 43 player in his class.
As a freshman last year, McCord played in five games, including one start when Stroud had to sit out with a shoulder injury against Akron. He threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 65.8 percent of his passes on the season. In the start against the Zips, which was also his first collegiate action, McCord went 13-of-18 passing for 319 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
“I think last year, getting the chance to play was huge,” (*6*) earlier this month. (*4*)
After enrolling early and arriving on campus in January, Brown took part in winter workouts and spring practice. His only real opportunity in a game-like atmosphere came in the Buckeyes’ spring game, Brown went 11-for-24 passing for 141 yards, one touchdown and one interception in that performance. While the stats don’t show it, Brown showed off his athleticism somewhat in the spring game, giving the Scarlet and Gray a willingness to run, something that neither Stroud nor McCord prefers.
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While McCord will start the season as Ohio (*24*) primary backup quarterback, Day was not ready to say that would be the case all season. McCord and Brown will continue to compete in practice for that right in case either needs to enter the game for Stroud.
(*8*) Day said. (*2*)