The Buckeyes are one of a handful of top programs who will have a quarterback competition this year. Alabama, Georgia, TCU, and Tennessee are just some of the other prominent teams looking for new leadership. In Columbus, it will be junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown battling to replace arguably OSU’s greatest passer ever in CJ Stroud. Oh, and the job also requires a playoff berth and a must-win on the road at Michigan. No pressure, right?
Kyle McCord, Jr, 6-3 222
The backup to CJ Stroud the past two seasons.
Devin Brown, rFr, 6-3 210
Still waiting to throw his first career college pass.
Tristan Gebbia, 7th Yr, 6-2 203
Transfer portal addition who gives Ohio State a veteran presence
CJ Stroud and his Ohio State passing records are off to the NFL. The Buckeyes are about to embark on a full-fledged quarterback battle. For the next six months — and perhaps beyond — head coach Ryan Day will be asked about the competition any time there is a microphone in front of him. Even at charity functions. He could be announcing a sizable donation to a children’s hospital but at some point during the ceremony a hospital administrator is going to accept the giant novelty check from Day and then lean into him while the crowd is applauding and ask quietly, “So what’s really going on with the quarterback competition?”
Tristan Gebbia (pronounced “JEBBIA”) is a transfer quarterback from Oregon State who is already on campus and learning the offense. He began his career at Nebraska way back in 2017. He transferred to Oregon State soon after, and has started a small handful of games for the Beavers. He’s started two games against rival Oregon, going 1-1 in those games. Gebbia didn’t come to Ohio State to battle for the starting job, but rather to provide experience, compete for a national championship, and to also get a head start on a coaching career. He gives the Buckeyes the fourth scholarship quarterback that Ryan Day prefers. True freshman Lincoln Kienholz is the other quarterback, but he will not arrive until June.
Spring Depth Chart
|6||Kyle McCord, Jr OR|
|15||Devin Brown, rFr|
|NA||Tristan Gebbia, rSr|
What’s the Latest?
Kyle McCord has been waiting for over two years for this opportunity. This is his first real opportunity to compete for the starting job at Ohio State. As a true freshman in 2021, he enrolled early hoping to compete, but CJ Stroud had a big leg up on him as a redshirt freshman. And as Stroud showed, he was pretty darn good. McCord still performed well enough that year to win the backup job over redshirt freshman Jack Miller. McCord got a start against Akron in 2021 as Stroud rested a sore shoulder. That was one of 12 games that McCord has played in, which gives him an advantage in this competition, but not so much that Devin Brown can’t overtake him. Brown’s skill as a runner has Buckeye fans excited, but that’s mostly a reaction to the past two years of begging Stroud to be more aggressive on the ground.
Expect Devin Brown and Kyle McCord to split the reps with the ones pretty evenly. If this is truly going to be a quarterback competition, you’ve got to see what both guys can do with the best parts around them. Only those inside the program have really gotten an opportunity to see Brown throw the ball. (Outside of a spring game a year ago where Brown led all quarterbacks with 141 yards passing, of course. He was also the only quarterback to complete less than 50 percent of his passes and throw an interception. But who’s counting?) This time around, Brown needs to look like a starter. In fact, whoever is going to win the job will need to look like a starter for the majority of the race. And whoever loses it should look like a starter as well. The best case scenario for Ryan Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis is for a difficult decision to be made. After all, being the backup quarterback at Ohio State should still make you one of the top handful of quarterbacks nationally.
One Question Needing An Answer
Would Ryan Day actually dare name a starter coming out of the spring?
Kyle McCord and Devin Brown are both breakout candidates, but the idea of one of them emerging over the other this spring could carry different meanings. On one hand, it could mean that either McCord or Brown performs so well and is so much better than the other that the coaches have no ability to hide such a secret. That would be a good problem to have. The other side of the coin could be that one of the two plays so poorly that the job is won by default, which wouldn’t be the end of the world, but the Doomsday Clock would tick a whole lot closer to midnight. Ryan Day has said it would be great if somebody emerges as a starter this spring, but that’s unlikely to happen. Not because there won’t be a quarterback good enough to start, but because there won’t be just one.