Devin Brown

Devin Brown ‘Pumped’ To Have First Start In Top 10 Cotton Bowl Matchup

Devin Brown has attempted just 22 passes in his two years as an Ohio State quarterback, and yet there is a good chance he will throw more than that number in one fell swoop later this month when he leads the No. 7 Buckeyes into the Cotton Bowl against the No. 9 Missouri Tigers.

Once quarterback Kyle McCord announced that he was leaving Ohio State and entering the transfer portal, everybody on the depth chart moved up one spot. The move sent Brown from backup to starter, and what an opportunity this first start could be.

“I mean, I’m pumped. I can’t believe my first start is going to be in the Cotton Bowl,” Brown said on Tuesday. “It’s a big stage against a really good team. It’s a top-10 matchup. And I’m just excited to go out there and show what I can do.”

Brown’s ascension to starter didn’t happen in the typical way, and he admitted to being caught “off guard” by McCord’s departure. But this won’t be the first time he’s prepared for a game like a starter.

“All year, I’ve always prepared like I was a starter,” Brown said. “I mean, it’s definitely different knowing you’re getting a lot more reps because it’s not split up or anything like that. There’s nothing to look over my shoulder for, just go out and have fun and play my game.”

Along with the increased reps in practice as the starter, Brown has also gone about reasserting himself as a team leader. As the starting quarterback, there is a certain level of leadership that is expected, which is why things had to change there as well.

“Yeah, I mean, they’ve had to change,” Brown explained, “just because it went from Kyle being the guy, to me having to step up as a leader again and gain the trust back of these guys and show them that I still was the leader I was in the summer before the season started. So it’s good getting back in there.”

What Does The Future Hold?

One of the only guarantees for Ohio State in 2024 is that they will have a new starting quarterback. Kyle McCord will be replaced by somebody, but just because Devin Brown is slated to start the Cotton Bowl doesn’t mean he’ll be starting when the Buckeyes take the field August 31, 2024 against the Akron Zips.

With the turnover and the Buckeyes losing over a dozen players to the portal in the span of a week, Brown created a stir last week when he tweeted a painting of burning boats, implying that there would be no turning back for him.

What was behind that message?

“There’s one thing that I’ve always said is that I’m a competitive guy and I would like to go and compete,” he explained. “So it doesn’t matter what’s going on. I’m always just gonna sink all my chips into here. That’s why I came in, was to be the best I can be here.”

Brown has heard the rumblings that Ohio State head coach Ryan Day could look to the transfer portal for a possible starter. And even if he doesn’t, the starting job next year wouldn’t be guaranteed to McCord, so it shouldn’t be expected to be given to Brown either. True freshman Lincoln Kienholz will be a second-year guy next year, and the Buckeyes will also add 5-star lefty Air Noland.

Transfers or not, Brown is saying exactly what you’d want your quarterback to say.

“My focus is on being the starting quarterback at Ohio State,” he said. “I’ve never cared about who was in the room or anybody that was coming in. I mean, that’s kind of one of the main reasons with the whole ‘burn the boat thing,’ is I don’t care, I’m gonna compete and do what I can do.”

Goes With The Territory

Along with getting ready for a game, mastering the game plan, and leading the troops, there is also something else that a starting quarterback has to deal with — a sizable amount of criticism.

It doesn’t matter how good a quarterback plays, criticism is going to find them — just ask former OSU starting quarterback CJ Stroud, who has been fantastic as an NFL rookie. Not even Stroud was immune to criticisms in his time as a Buckeye.

Brown has seen first-hand what Stroud and McCord went through when it came to criticism, but he also understands that it comes with the territory.

“Yeah, I mean, that’s that’s why you come here is to be at the top of the pedestal and be in front of all these eyes,” he said. “That’s what Ohio State is. So there’s going to be both sides, good and bad. And that’s just kind of the nature of it. But at the end of the day, it truly doesn’t matter what other people’s opinions are of you. All that matters is what your team thinks and what you feel.”

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