2023 Ohio State spring football Miyan Williams Kyle McCord

Spring Position Recap: Ohio State Quarterback Battle Heads Into Summer

With spring football now in the rearview mirror for Ohio State, it’s time to look back at what happened with each position group and where things currently stand for the Buckeyes. Up next will be the quarterbacks.

[Previous: Running Backs | Receivers | Defensive Ends | Linebackers | Safeties]

Quick Position Overview

The Buckeyes have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, which is head coach Ryan Day’s target number. He isn’t always able to hit that number, however, because of the transfer portal, and also because of all of his quarterbacks turning pro early and whatnot. Junior Kyle McCord and redshirt freshman Devin Brown are competing for the job, while transfer Tristan Gebbia came from Oregon State to provide experience and begin his coaching career. True freshman Lincoln Kienholz arrives in the summer. He threw for 3,422 yards and rushed for 1,435 yards as a senior, accounting for 70 total touchdowns.

Expectations Going In

The expectation going into the spring was that every set of eyeballs would be on Kyle McCord and Devin Brown as they competed to replace the departed CJ Stroud. It was also assumed that no starter would actually be named following spring, barring something catastrophic — like a season-ending injury or somebody just not playing well at all.

Reality Coming Out

Despite head coach Ryan Day saying he would like to see somebody distance themselves, it didn’t seem to happen based on how the reps were split between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown. Both players shared reps with the ones and twos equally until Brown suffered a finger injury in the final week or so of camp. That ended his spring and kept him out of the spring game. No starter was named after spring ball, so the competition will continue.

Any Surprises?

Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise given that this is his seventh year of college football, but Tristan Gebbia impressed the Ohio State coaches with his work ethic and ability to learn a fairly complex offense. He also threw the ball pretty well. There is obviously still a ton of work to do, but Gebbia is getting a full dose of this offense. He has even sat in on coaches meetings as he lays the groundwork for an eventual coaching career.

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Unanswered Question

Aside from “Who is going to be Ohio State’s starting quarterback?” Coming into camp, the belief was that Kyle McCord had the stronger arm, while Devin Brown had the better legs. McCord showed off some mobility throughout the spring. Wearing a non-contact jersey isn’t exactly the way to show everybody how well you can run, but McCord kept passing plays alive by scrambling, and wasn’t slow to pick up yards when he could. In other words, he ran well enough for it to be a useful part of his game this season. Devin Brown, meanwhile, will need to show in fall camp that he can do everything in the passing game that Kyle McCord can. McCord closed the gap in terms of mobility. Can Brown close the gap when it comes to throwing the ball?

So Now What?

So now Kyle McCord and Devin Brown hit the offseason, but they’ll be doing it at different paces. McCord can pick up where he left off last week, but Devin Brown will still need another three weeks or so before he can start throwing again. They will spend the summer working with their receivers, throwing at all hours, building the rapport necessary to win a Big Ten title.

One Concern

Neither Kyle McCord nor Devin Brown threw the ball that much last year. They combined for 20 pass attempts, and all 20 belonged to McCord. Sure, CJ Stroud started in 2021 without ever throwing a pass before, but if he had thrown a good number of passes as a backup in 2020, is there a chance the Buckeyes don’t lose the 2021 home opener against Oregon? More experience is always better than less. It’s probably a good thing the Buckeyes have three games this season before heading to South Bend to play Notre Dame.

Are We Sure?

Are we sure that Lincoln Kienholz isn’t the most complete athlete on the Ohio State roster? He threw for 9,100 yards and 104 touchdowns in high school. He also rushed for 3,502 yards and 44 touchdowns. Kienholz won three state titles in his three years as a starter at TF Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota. He also batted .472 with six home runs as a junior while posting a 3-0 record as a pitcher with a 1.24 ERA. He was also a two-time First-Team All-State basketball player who averaged 19.9 points per game as a junior, and 18.5 points per game as a senior.


“No. I mean, when I committed here, I made a promise to myself that I was just gonna come here and compete. Guys can come, guys can go, but at the end of the day, I think if you’re confident in your work, confident in your game, you’re gonna be in a good spot, regardless of who they bring in. You’re at a place like Ohio State, you know they’re gonna bring in the best quarterbacks, you know they’re gonna bring in really good competition. And you have to earn it every single day.” — Kyle McCord when asked if he’d ever thought of transferring.

Depth Chart

6 Kyle McCord, Jr OR
33 Devin Brown, rFr
14 Tristan Gebbia, Grad.

Reading List

Kyle McCord, Devin Brown Understand Competition Long From Over

Still Too Early For Quarterback Decision For Ryan Day

Kyle McCord Willing To Do Whatever It Takes To Get Job Done

Two Shall Enter…

Devin Brown Appreciative Of Opportunity Ahead

Buckeyes Notebook: ‘This is not a guy who shies away from things’

Devin Brown Just Asking For Opportunity To Compete

Quarterbacks Kyle McCord, Devin Brown Ready For Difficult Battle

Time For Kyle McCord To Go From Patient To Surgeon

Plenty For Buckeye Coaches To Like In Lincoln Kienholz

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