Ohio State football: Who will be Ohio State’s QB in 2021?

Justin Fields will be remembered as one of the most talented quarterbacks in Ohio State football history and will be hard to replace. With that being said, who will be the starting QB moving forward?

All it took was one and a half seasons for Justin Fields to become an Ohio State legend. He finishes his Ohio State career with the second-most touchdown passes (62), was a Heisman finalist in 2019, and led the Buckeyes to two Big Ten titles, two playoff appearances, a Sugar Bowl victory, and a National Championship appearance.

As Fields turns pro, there will be some big shoes to fill in Columbus. Who will be Ohio State’s quarterback in 2021 and beyond? Luckily, Ryan Day has recruited some very high-level players, and it will be a three-man battle this offseason. Let’s get to know the candidates for this prestigious job.

C.J. Stroud

Stroud is a 6’2 pro-style QB from Rancho Cucamonga, California. He was recruited as a four-star player out of high school, and the #2 pro-style QB in the country. Stroud committed to Ohio State over multiple PAC-12 teams and also received interest from Georgia, Oregon, and Michigan.

The current-freshman QB saw some playing time in 2020 during blowouts, but did not attempt a single pass, he did show some speed and agility when he rushed for a 48-yard touchdown against Michigan State.

Stroud is likely the favorite to win the starting job, just based on his utilization in 2020. A pro-style quarterback is something Head Coach Ryan Day is very familiar with and can develop into a complete superstar at the college level. 247Sports offers C.J. a pro comparison of Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Jack Miller III

Jack Miller and C.J. Stroud have a lot in common. Both are close to the same size, and both are pro-style QBs from the West Coast. Miller is a four-star prospect from Scottsdale, Arizona. Like Stroud, Miller also saw some playing time in 2020 during blowouts.

He also did not attempt a pass as a freshman, but did run the ball twice for a total of 23 yards and scored a touchdown. Miller appeared to be QB2 at the beginning of the season, as it was he who replaced Justin Fields during Ohio State’s rout of Nebraska in the season opener.

From a ranking standpoint, Miller did not rank as high as Stroud, as he was listed as the #13 pro-style QB in the class of 2020. He did still receive some big-time offers from Alabama and LSU before he signed with the Ohio State football program.

In high school, he did have more time to gain the attention of schools, as he was a four-year starter, while Stroud did not start on the varsity team until his junior year. Jack Miller has a legitimate shot at being the starting QB when the Buckeyes open their season on September 2 in Minnesota.

Kyle McCord

McCord will be the new guy on campus in 2021. The incoming freshman stands at 6’3, 215 pounds, and is a five-star recruit who is ranked as the third-best pro-style QB in the country. He is a top-25 player nationally, regardless of position.

The high school superstar from Philadelphia chose the Ohio State football program over other B1G teams such as Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State. He also held offers from Mississippi State, Texas A&M, North Carolina, and others.

McCord will likely have a better shot at becoming a starter in 2022, as Stroud and Miller both have a significant advantage after having already spent a season within the program. McCord will undeniably be a starter for a power-five program at some point.

247Sports compares his skills and play style to Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford. He is a very accurate passer with a great amount of strength. Perhaps not as mobile as Stroud or Miller, but has the passing abilities to make up for it. Don’t completely rule out the possibility of McCord being QB1 as a true-freshman in 2021.

All three candidates will develop into great players, and Ryan Day will pick who is best to lead the offense. The Buckeyes will have plenty of weapons to assist the QBs. Even if Chris Olave leaves, Garrett Wilson will be back, as will the soon-to-be sophomore WR’s in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming, and Gee Scott Jr.

A date for the 2021 Spring Game has yet to be set, but hopefully it will be safe to allow fans to fill Ohio Stadium and watch what will be another great, highly competitive, QB competition. There have been some great QB battles in recent memory for the Ohio State football program. From having to decide between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones in 2015 (Braxton Miller was also in the mix for a bit, before moving to WR/HB), and Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow in 2018.