Friday, December 3

Who is CJ Stroud? Meet Ohio State’s new QB1 replacing Justin Fields

Replacing a quarterback like Justin Fields is a tall order for any team, even if that team is Ohio State.

Still, coach Ryan Day found himself in an enviable position to have four dynamic quarterback options to choose from with CJ Stroud, Jack Miller, Kyle McCord and newcomer Quinn Ewers.

On August 21, Day announced the decision: It would be Stroud, a freshman in a red jersey, starting against Minnesota on September 2. Stroud looked like the quarterback most likely to get the nod, having already gained some experience in 2020 and was the first to come off the bench whenever Fields was injured. But college football fans may not know too much about the new starter at Ohio State.

Pro-style quarterback

Ohio State made the most of Fields’ speed during his tenure as the signal caller for the team. Stroud, although mobile, will not offer the same dynamic ability to play with his legs.

Although his only touchdown is a rushing score, a 48-yard run on Dec. 5 against Michigan State, Stroud came out of high school as a pro-style quarterback, best known for his arm and his ability to make accurate passes. .

He showed his arm much more in the 2021 Spring Game. Stroud completed 16 of 22 passes for 185 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He ran twice for three yards.

That stat line sums up what to expect from Stroud, although it won’t come as a surprise to see him run more than twice in a game. When I was in high school, Stroud told the Daily Bulletin in 2019 He prefers extended and West Coast offenses.

“The best for me, in general for school, football, of course, but having a good relationship with my head coach, learning to be one of those guys,” Stroud told the Daily Bulletin. I need to be in the right place where they will mark me for what I want to do after football. “

Increase in recruitment

When Stroud joined Ohio State, 247Sports listed him as a five-star quarterback, the No. 2 pro-style quarterback, the fourth-best overall prospect in the state of California, and the No. 29 pick in the nation.

It was not always like this. Stroud was listed as a three-star prospect before the start of his senior year. The Rancho Cucamonga High starting quarterback had only received offers from a few Pac-12 schools after starting his first season as a junior.

That offseason was the first start to his ascension. He made a statement with a great performance during the Elite 11 Finals, where he played alongside other top recruits and was eventually named MVP of the event. Stroud then smashed the competition as a senior at Rancho Cucamonga when he posted 3,878 passing yards and 47 passing touchdowns in 13 games of action. Out of 754 career passes in high school, only 15 were eliminated.

“The precision that they talked about in Elite 11, that’s what he did all the time with us,” Mark Verti, Stroud High School Coach, he told Athletic. “That’s what the college coaches said when they came to look at it, almost all the balls are being caught or all the balls that are thrown are catchable. It’s not a bullet, but they are catchable balls that hit the right place on the right.” weather.”

Stroud was offered by Ohio State on October 8, 2019, and was engaged and signed with Ohio State on December 18 of the same year. He signed up early on January 6.

What should be the expectations for 2021?

The Buckeyes are entering the season in fourth place overall in the AP Top 25. They have reached the college football playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

The expectations of the fans and the world of college football can be summed up simply in making the team a contender for the national championship. No pressure, right?

Stroud is lucky to start his college football career on a team loaded with offensive weapons. Wilson and Chris Olave appear to be NFL first-round wide receivers, and Julian Fleming, Jeremy Ruckert and Jaxon Smith-Njigba give him three more prominent receiving options. Miyan Williams and Master Teague are poised to be two powerful runners by his side. Harry Miller, Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere are returning starters on the offensive line, while Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones gained experience in 2020 and will be hitting talents down the line.

While Ohio State has the supporting cast around it, Stroud being named a starter means the offense will still look considerably different from previous years. Braxton Miller, JT Barrett and Fields were double-threat quarterbacks. The two most recent pro-style quarterbacks were Cardale Jones and Dwayne Haskins. Jones led the Buckeyes through the 2014 Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff, which ended with his victory in the national championship, but struggled dividing the opening duties with Barrett in 2015, as he finished with a percentage of just 62.3 percent completions for 1,459 yards and eight passing touchdowns. to five interceptions.

Haskins, however, was a star under center in 2018. He completed 70 percent of his passes with 4,831 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote.

Stroud should fit somewhere between Fields and Haskins in terms of what he will bring to the table. He doesn’t have the same power arm that Haskins has, but he’s more mobile and should at least be a factor in the running game. Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson compared him to Russell Wilson.

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