The 2021 recruiting class remains the best recruiting class in Ohio State football history. The reason for that is because of the inclusion of Quinn Ewers. Ewers decided to reclassify from the 2022 class to the 2021 class to join the Buckeyes one year earlier than expected.
Because he decided to join the Ohio State football program so late, he never had a shot to win the starting job that year. It was a three-horse race between C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller, and Kyle McCord. Stroud obviously ended up winning the job and started for the next two years.
Ewers ended up staying for just one year, collecting NIL money, and then transferring to Texas at the end of the season. He never took a meaningful snap for the Buckeyes. While his 2022 season was rough, he is now starting for a team that is playing in the College Football Playoff.
Meanwhile, McCord just transferred to Syracuse after just one year as the starter for the Buckeyes. Ewers leaving ended up being a huge moment in Ryan Day's coaching career. You don't think he would rather have had Ewers starting this year than McCord?
Looking at their stats for this year, they are fairly similar. McCord threw for three more touchdowns while Ewers completed 70.7% of his passes compared to McCord completing just 65.8%. They both threw for the same number of interceptions but McCord fumbled twice more.
The biggest difference is in the run game. McCord didn't have a single rushing touchdown. Ewers had five of them. His ability to move around a little bit more would have been big for the Buckeyes this season. His decision making was also much better for most of the season.
Day not being able to hold onto Ewers could haunt him for the rest of his days as Ohio State's coach. I think Ewers could have led this Ohio State team to the CFP and a win over TTUN. Instead, the Buckeyes are playing in the Cotton Bowl.
Do I totally blame Day for losing Ewers? No. Ewers was just using Ohio State to collect NIL money and wanted a guaranteed shot at the starting job in 2022. That wasn't going to happen with Stroud in the fold. But if Day had been able to push for more NIL money, maybe he would have stayed.
Unfortunately, we'll never truly know.
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