For the first time since the spring of 2018, the Ohio State quarterback position is wide open headed into the spring.
Record-setting QB CJ Stroud is off to the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, leaving behind two contenders to replace him. Rising junior Kyle McCord is getting ready for his third spring with the Buckeyes, while Devin Brown will be taking part in his second spring after enrolling early last year as a true freshman.
Together, the two of them combined to throw 20 passes off the bench last season, but all 20 belonged to McCord. McCord clearly has the experience advantage between the two, which includes a start against Akron as a true freshman in 2021, but that’s not going to keep head coach Ryan Day from making the competition this spring wide open.
The Buckeyes need a new starting quarterback this season, and they’re going to give both McCord and Brown ample opportunities to win — or lose — the job this spring.
All Eyes On Them
It will be one of the most closely watched position battles in the nation this year. It will bring pressure, but it’s not going to bring any kind of contentiousness between the two players. They get along too well for that.
“If you watch practice, he’ll make a good throw, I’ll be slapping him on the back. I’ll make a good throw and he’ll be clapping and dapping me up first,” McCord said. “I don’t think that’s our relationship at all. We both push each other to get better and we’re happy when the other one succeeds.”
This won’t be an easy battle for either player to win. Both are former five-star prospects who could have gone anywhere in the country to play football. They both chose Ohio State, and now they’re each getting their first real opportunity to make a pitch for the job.
So what makes Devin Brown difficult competition for Kyle McCord?
“I think everything,” McCord said. “He’s a really good quarterback all around. He is athletic. Can throw the ball. He can do everything. And I think he’s just like me, he loves going against the defense, trying to get better, trying to score, whatever it is. He’s a really good player and he’s been like that since since he got here, and he’s only getting better.”
Brown is seen as the better runner of the two, but the quarterback who wins the job will be the one who moves the chains, protects the ball, and leads the team the best.
Brown has seen McCord as a leader for the past year, and he knows it presents a tough challenge to beat.
“Kyle is a great player,” Brown said. “I mean, everybody respects him. I respect him. He’s been a great player, a great high school player. Kyle’s done it. He’s played in games. He knows the offense really well. I mean, what more could there be to say?”
Just The Beginning?
Well, there will actually be plenty more to say over the 15 practices throughout spring camp. The reps are expected to be split evenly between the two, and not just overall snaps, but in terms of snaps with the ones and the twos. After all, if somebody is getting the vast majority of the snaps with the ones, then how wide open was the battle to begin with?
As it stands now, however, the Buckeyes have begun the process to find their next great quarterback. If it ends up like all of Ryan Day’s previous quarterback searches at Ohio State, it should turn out just fine when the dust finally settles.
“I’m excited to see these two guys compete,” Day said. “What an unbelievable opportunity for both of them. When you look at the guys and the cast that’s surrounding them, I mean you couldn’t be more excited to be quarterback right now, I would think, in college football.
“Kyle’s now going into year three, Devin’s going into year two. So I’d say Kyle has one more year of experience and has started one game. He’s played in games more than Devin, but it’s going to be a heck of a competition. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. They both have a little bit of a different skill set and it’s gonna be fun to watch them compete this spring.”