Ohio State head coach Ryan Day isn’t quite ready to name a starting quarterback for the season opener at Minnesota next month, but a clear and unsurprising frontrunner is beginning to emerge for the Buckeyes.
During his media availability on Monday, Day stopped short of anointing redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud as the starter, but noted Stroud is standing out above the rest as camp enters its third week.
“I think that C.J. has separated a little bit here over the last couple of weeks. We’ll see what this week brings, certainly not making any decisions right now, but we have seen a little separation,” Day said.
Asked what he’s seen from Stroud that is responsible for his separation from Jack Miller and Kyle McCord, Day said there hasn’t been one thing in particular that has caught his eye, but “a body of work over time” is elevating Stroud to the top of the depth chart.
“I’ll say that every day, he’s competing. He’s been taking care of the football, making good decisions, he’s been a leader,” Day said. “Those are all some of the traits that we’re looking for. And certainly, moving the team down the field to score touchdowns is something that we look for.”
As Stroud begins to separate himself as the leader of the quarterbacks room, Day said the repetitions in practice are beginning to get slightly skewed in favor of Stroud as well. However, Day said there are still plenty of repetitions to be spread around this week for each of the quarterbacks as decisions are still yet to be made.
Past naming a starter, plenty of intrigue still remains regarding who will earn the backup position. Day said he has been pleased with the entire quarterbacks room, regardless of who may be leading the pack, with the understanding the team could need them all over the course of a long season.
“They’ve been great. They understand that no decisions have been made yet but that’s where it’s at … It’s a long season. That’s what I think all of those guys understand and will continue to understand, that we’re talking about going all the way to January,” Day said. “So, my experience is we’re going to need everybody. One thing’s for sure, there’s going to be one starter in terms of that first place at Minnesota. At that point, we see where it goes.”
Day declined to offer insight on who might be in position to be second on the depth chart when game preparation begins next week, instead reiterating no decisions have made on any of the quarterbacks.
“I think as we start to get into that game week, we start to get an idea of that and the depth chart gets made,” he said. “We’re still not naming a starter, so we’re not quite there yet. But this is a big week for those guys.”
Of course, while Stroud, Miller, and McCord continue to push forward for playing time this season, it’s been another quarterback who has been the talk of the town of late. Quinn Ewers, the top-ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class after reclassifying this summer, officially arrived on campus this past weekend. On Monday, Ewers took to the practice field for the first time as a Buckeye.
While there couldn’t be any more hype surrounding Ewers’ arrival in Columbus, Day was quick to press the breaks on any talk of Ewers earning playing time early this season.
“Like I said, he’s just trying to figure out where to stretch out right now,” Day said when asked about Ewers’ path to playing time. “We’ll see. We’re a long way from all of that.”
As for how Ewers will be factored into repetitions during practice, Day said that’s something that will need to be figured out, but bigger priorities exist as the season draws closer.
“That’s what we’re going to figure out, but there are some other guys who, we’re playing a game here in 17 days,” Day said. “So, we have to get those guys ready first, and then we’ll bring him along as it goes.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.