You could say C.J. Stroud had one of the best seasons EVER for a Buckeye quarterback — and it was only his first one. He set the Ohio State single-season records for completion percentage, passer rating and passing yards per game. He also set the record for most yards thrown in one game, with 574 in the Rose Bowl. Like I said, he had a pretty dang good season. However, I predict him to elevate his play even more, and break a hefty record set by Dwayne Haskins.
When Haskins set the Ohio State and Big Ten single season passing TD record of 50 back in 2018, it was quite shocking at the time. The previous record for a Buckeye QB was 35 set by J.T. Barrett, so an increase of 15 touchdowns was sort of unfathomable — yntil Haskins came along with his gunslinger of an arm. He was built for that type of role, though. He was big and extremely strong.
Stroud is listed as the same height, 6-foot-3, and only about 10 pounds lighter than Haskins. Obviously, he has the same arm strength and accuracy as him, too. He has shown that he doesn't like to use his legs very much, so he does rely on his arm, and it works. He tossed 44 touchdowns last year in 12 games, and that was with sitting out of the Akron game.
This year, I see no reason why he can’t break the record. As long as he stays healthy and plays in all of the games, including (hopefully) some playoff games, it’s honestly a no-brainer that he is going to break it. While he did lose Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson to the pros, who caught a combined 25 touchdowns last season, he still has his main man, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who caught nine TDs and will obviously expand upon that this season as the No. 1 receiver.
Yes, Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka, Jayden Ballard... whoever ends up becoming the new starting receivers, they have big shoes to fill. However, Harrison caught three TDs ALONE in the Rose Bowl, showing just a glimpse of what he is capable of doing for an entire season. Him and Stroud seem to have a really great connection already, and I’m excited to see how they look in the fall after working together all offseason.
Another advantage that the Buckeyes have when it comes to receivers is that teams don’t have film on them. Obviously, teams knew about Olave and Wilson (and still couldn't stop them). However, Egbuka, Ballard and Julian Fleming haven’t seen the field much, so when they burst onto the scene this year, it’s going to take some time for opposing team’s defenses to figure out how to stop them. Therefore, I’m betting on a good portion of Stroud’s TDs to go to these guys.
When you take a look at the Buckeyes’ schedule, there’s some obvious games where Stroud can pad his stats. Their opponents for Week 2 and Week 3 are Arkansas State and Toledo. While he probably won’t play for the entirety of those games, he can still do a lot in one half, including throwing for three or four TDs. I think by the halfway point of the season, he will already have over 25 passing TDs.
This will most likely be Stroud’s final collegiate season. He’s going to want to go out with a bang. There’s certainly a few records he could break this season, including passing yards in a season, passing attempts in a season, heck, even career passing yards. However, the one I am most intrigued by is the single season TD mark, and I think that the cards are in Stroud’s favor to break it.