COLUMBUS – The Buckeyes may have been late to the party when it came to recruiting quarterback Devin Brown it didn’t matter as Ohio State was able to swoop in late and land the five-star signal caller.
Now just going into his second year in the program, he has a shot at one of the top jobs in college football, starting quarterback at Ohio State.
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There is still a long road to go for both Brown and fellow Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord before the start of the 2023 season but every single thing that is done on the field now will be evaluated as Ryan Day looks for his next starting quarterback. CJ Stroud held down the position for the past two seasons and now it is wide open and both players see a tremendous opportunity.
Only one guy will get the nod. That would generally drive people apart, being up for the same job knowing that only one can get it. But that is not the case with the second and third-year quarterbacks.
“There are no hard feelings between us,” Brown said of the competition. “We’ve been very good about it like we’re not trying to separate each other from anything. We’re not trying to fight over receivers or anything like that, fight over taking reps. We just want each other to get better.”
Year one to year two has been transformative for Brown, coming in as a high schooler and developing into a college quarterback. The development does not stop after the first year for anyone, but Brown has seen obvious results from just one year in the program.
“(I am now in) the 215 (pound) range, I got my size on me. I feel like I still have my speed,” Brown said of his growth, reminding everyone that he was 180-pounds when he set foot on Ohio State’s campus.
The physical traits are obvious, but there is so much more to it. In high school you are generally in a relatively small pond but moving up into the upper echelons of Power Five football, the water gets much deeper in a hurry.
“The biggest thing was mentally this offseason, really diving into the offense, diving into what defenses do,” Brown said. “I feel like now it’s kind of becoming second nature. So, I can just come out and play.”
During the offseason, there is no preparing for this opponent or that opponent. It is all about fundamentals, really learning what it takes to be successful at this level and watching the progression of your predecessors and how they took to the same lessons.
“We go back and watch Braxton (Miller) and JT (Barrett) and Dwayne (Haskins Jr.), all these guys,” Brown said. “When they’re doing drills, all the same drill as us. We looked back and you’re like, ‘All these guys were the same as us, they’re in the same position as us.’ You know it didn’t matter where they are on the depth chart. We were the best quarterback room in the country, and everybody can play.”
Stroud is the latest to exit the Ryan Day Quarterback School and his name will be called in the NFL Draft soon enough. Both Brown and McCord had plenty of time to watch their elder teammate. When Stroud was off to New York this past year for Heisman festivities, that left a lot of reps open as the Buckeyes were preparing for Georgia and the Peach Bowl. Both quarterbacks made the most of that time, knowing that it was a preview to the position battle that was soon to come.
“I got a lot of reps with the ones (those) few days, I think it was three or four practices that CJ wasn’t there, and it was good,” Brown said. “It was just me and Kyle getting a ton of reps and being able to vocalize myself as a (team) leader, even as a young guy. Guys were coming around me, it was good to be able to voice myself.”
There is going to be plenty of hard work in the coming weeks, Ohio State will practice through the end of this week and then break for Spring Break before coming back and finishing up spring practice. Brown knows that the opportunity has been presented to him, everything else rests in his and McCord’s arms now.
“I’m at the best school in the country, I’m on the best team in the country,” Brown said. “And the chance that I have to be able to become a starting quarterback at Ohio State, it’s nothing more I can ask for. I just want to keep going, keep playing and try to get myself better.”
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