Devin Brown Ohio State Buckeyes Quarterback

Spring Preview: Buckeye Quarterbacks Preparing For Battle


The Buckeyes will open spring practice with five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, which is brand new territory for head coach Ryan Day. Senior Will Howard has transferred in from Kansas State where he won a Big XII Championship as a junior. Redshirt sophomore Devin Brown returns after coming up just short in the competition to be the Buckeyes’ starter last year. Redshirt freshman Lincoln Kienholz is back after being thrown into the fire against Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. True freshmen Air Noland and Julian Sayin were both five-star prospects and both are already enrolled.

Scholarship Roster

Will Howard, rSr, 6-5 242
Transfer from Kansas State where he started last year.
Devin Brown, rSoph, 6-3 213
Led the QB battle at times last fall but lost out late.
Lincoln Kienholz, rFr, 6-2 200
Ton of potential but has not yet been through a spring camp.
Air Noland, Fr, 6-3 195
Lit it up as a high school junior in the state of Georgia.
Julian Sayin, Fr, 6-1 195
Arguably the top QB in the 2024 class who transferred in from Alabama.

For Starters

Will Howard has only been an “opening day starter” once in his career — last year. And yet he started multiple games in all four years at Kansas State. As a freshman, he started the final seven games of the 2020 season due to an injury to starter Skylar Thompson. He started three games as a sophomore due to more Thompson injuries. Howard was supposed to be the Wildcats’ starter in 2022, but they went to the portal and brought in former Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez won the job but Howard still ended up starting five games due to injuries. Last year, however, Howard finally won the job and ended up starting all 12 regular season games before hitting the transfer portal. Howard completed 61.3% of his passes for 2,643 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 351 yards on 81 carries, scoring nine times. Devin Brown’s lone start against Missouri last year is the only other quarterback start on the Ohio State roster.

New Additions

It’s not often that a program like Ohio State adds three new faces to the quarterback room, but that’s exactly what has happened here. Along with Will Howard, Ryan Day signed five-star Georgia prospect Air Noland. Noland threw for over 4,000 yards and 55 touchdowns as a junior, winning a state championship. Julian Sayin was the No. 2 quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class per ESPN, Rivals, and On3. He is the No. 3 quarterback according to 247Sports. Sayin originally signed with Alabama but hit the transfer portal when head coach Nick Saban announced his retirement.

Spring Depth Chart

33Devin Brown OR
NAWill Howard
12Lincoln Kienholz
NAJulian Sayin OR
NAAir Noland

What’s The Latest

Will Howard has spent the last two months building relationships with his new teammates, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Some of that is taking place in the weight room and some of it takes place after hours while hanging out. It’s a crash course for a quarterback to show his teammates that he can be trusted. Now comes the part where he gets to show it on the practice field. He has also spent the last two months getting up to speed on the playbook, which will also help him build camaraderie with his teammates.


Expect the quarterback competition to be well-documented by the coaches this spring, but do not expect it to lead to any decisions on a starter. Don’t be surprised when Devin Brown leads the way for most of practice in terms of reps and drills since he’s the only quarterback on the roster who has actually been through a spring at Ohio State. Brown completed 16-of-28 passes last year for 217 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 22 times for 23 yards and one score, often being utilized as a running threat in the red zone.

One Question Needing An Answer

How do you get reps for five quarterbacks? Devin Brown, Will Howard and Lincoln Kienholz will get the bulk of the reps, but there are two other quarterbacks on the roster looking for work as well. Normally it’s a good problem to have, but Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly have to weigh reps for the freshmen against reps for the quarterbacks who are much more likely to start this season. Even splitting reps three ways can reduce opportunities. Mental reps will be employed. Whoever makes the most of them may eventually win the starting job this year.

Breakout Candidate

Lincoln Kienholz was put in an extremely difficult situation in the Cotton Bowl against Missouri when he had to step in for Devin Brown. The Tigers blitzed him relentlessly, but it was a learning experience. Kienholz enrolled last June, so this is going to be his first spring at Ohio State. He is a competitive guy, so having so much of the focus on Will Howard and Devin Brown might allow him to catch some folks off guard. He is bigger, faster, and stronger than last season. He is also more experienced. Maybe more importantly, however, he’s had a taste of the action and he’s going to want more.


Defensive Tackle: Buckeyes Surround Returning Starters With Youth

Offensive Line: Buckeyes Much Deeper Than They Were A Year Ago

Defensive Ends: Ohio State Defensive Ends Just Getting Started

Tight Ends: Buckeye Tight Ends Have Big Shoes To Fill

Linebackers: Two New Starters Must Be Found

Running Backs: Thunder, Lightning, And More

Cornerbacks: Deep, Talented, And Competitive

Wide Receivers: Not As Deep But Still Plenty Talented

Safeties: A Strength Of The Buckeye Defense

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