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Biggest Concern: Will Ohio State suffer a significant drop-off at quarterback?

Can Kyle McCord or Devin Brown get the job done in a way that meets Ohio State’s tough standards?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about our Biggest Concerns. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our Biggest Concerns here.

My biggest concern for this 2023 Buckeye football team is about the most important position on the field: quarterback. This is the first true quarterback battle that Ohio State has had in years, and while it seems like Kyle McCord is the frontrunner, there has been no true hint as to who will be named the starter. Whoever it is, can they maintain the precedent that Buckeye quarterbacks have set for the past decade?

The quarterback position has not been a problem in years, especially since Ryan Day took over as head coach. The last true QB battle was between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett in 2015, following the 2014 National Championship. Both players ended up splitting reps during the season. However, after them, it has been a steady stream of superstars — Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud. Now, it is time for a new star.

Obviously, it is hard to say right now, at the beginning of May, as to whether there will be a drop off at QB. The team has yet to start summer practices and the starter hasn’t even been named yet. While a battle hasn’t happened since 2015, the situation really hasn’t changed. A four or five-star recruit, highly touted, sitting behind the star quarterback for a year or two before getting his shot to take over the team.

Ohio State University vs University of Hawaii Set Number: X159934 TK1

Haskins was a four-star recruit who sat for two seasons before balling out for his single season as a starter. Fields was a five-star recruit who transferred from Georgia after a year. Stroud was a five-star recruit who sat behind Fields for a year. Now, McCord is a five-star recruit who sat behind Stroud for two years, and redshirt-freshman Devin Brown is a five-star recruit who sat behind Stroud for one year.

This guys aren’t nobodies. They were at the top of their draft classes and were recruited across the nation. Yet, they chose Ohio State. Has the QB pipeline into the NFL been the strongest? No. But has each of the last three quarterbacks been named a Heisman finalist and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year? Yep. Quarterbacks at Ohio State are successful.

Therefore, I don’t think it would be acceptable for the standard to be lowered for whoever the QB is this year. It doesn’t hurt that whoever the starter is, they’re walking into a situation where they are just absolutely surrounded by weapons. The best receiving room in the nation is at their disposal, and they have a handful of great running backs behind them.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: MAR 07 Ohio State Spring Practice Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The offensive line will be new and may impact them, but I just want to focus solely on the talent of whoever is under center. Truly, I think McCord or Brown will have the same success as previous year’s quarterbacks. I’m sure it will be a shaky start and take a couple games to adjust, but remember Stroud’s first game against Minnesota? He did not look great, but look at the resume he complied for himself, and now he just got drafted No. 2 overall. Not to be cliche, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish!

I’m guessing McCord is going to be the starter, and if he is, he is in a great position. He has two years of learning the system under his belt, sitting behind one of the best QB’s in the nation and has the country’s best receivers to throw to. While it may be his first time being the starter, he is not a newbie to this program. He’s played in front of 100,000 screaming fans at The Shoe. He is ready for this.

And if it’s Brown? The same can be said for him, except he has one less year in the system. Ryan Day will not be a QB on the field who is not prepared and is not ready to lead this team to a National Championship. Whoever the starter may be, I expect no drop off.


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