Ohio State coach Ryan Day names C.J. Stroud as Buckeyes' starting QB

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State coach Ryan Day has named C.J. Stroud the Buckeyes' starting quarterback for the season-opener against Minnesota on Sept. 2.

On Monday, Day said that Stroud, a redshirt freshman from California, had emerged as the leader in the competition with fellow redshirt freshman Jack Miller and true freshman Kyle McCord. But Day said nothing had been decided and the battle would continue.

But with the opener approaching, it was important for Ohio State to settle on a starter so that game preparation could begin in earnest. Day said Stroud started to get the majority of first-team reps earlier this week.

"I've been proud of the way he's gone to work," Day said of Stroud.

But he said Stroud should consider being named the starter an opportunity rather than an accomplishment.

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis watches C.J. Stroud throw during football training camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Stroud has been considered the front-runner to succeed Justin Fields since Fields decided to enter the NFL draft. The Chicago Bears took him with the 11th overall pick.

The 6-3, 218-pound Stroud appeared in three games last year. Like Miller, Stroud didn't attempt a pass, though he had a 48-yard touchdown late in a rout of Michigan State.

Saturday's announcement capped Stroud's rapid rise since he was an unheralded prospect at Rancho Cucamonga High School. He didn't start until his junior year, and his recruitment took off after he won Most Valuable Player honors at the Elite 11 camp.

Ohio State entered the picture late, recruiting Stroud after Miller had already committed. Though he was favored to win the job as training camp opened, Stroud said he would keep his underdog mentality.

“Even if things go the way I think they will for me this year, I'll still have that chip on my shoulder just because I know where I come from and know everything that I've been through,” Stroud said. “I definitely will still keep that mindset and that chip on my shoulder, but not a negative chip — just a chip of ‘I want it more than anyone else.’ That's kind of my mindset.”

Day did not name a top backup. He said he has preached to them he expects to need them during the season.

"They're in it for the long haul," Day said.