Early Wednesday afternoon, a shocking story was dropped per Yahoo Sports Pete Thamel, high school phenom quarterback Quinn Ewers was leaning toward skipping his senior and attending Ohio State. This was a massive bomb for recruiting and one of the first possible major ripple effects from N.I.L. It’s being reported that Ewers would like to be able to cash in on his name with the N.I.L. rules but those are different for high school athletes in Texas. Texas has a state law in effect that prohibits such agreements from taking place. While he is “leaning” toward the decision, many around the Ohio State program have heard this could be happening for multiple weeks. So if Quinn Ewers joins the Buckeyes for training camp what does this mean for the quarterbacks currently on the roster?

Current Quarterback Room

Ohio State already has what many would consider “one of the most loaded” quarterback rooms in the country. C.J. Stroud redshirt freshman out of Rancho Cucamonga, California finished as a high four-star quarterback and the second-ranked QB in his class. Stroud was the last player to commit to the Buckeyes in this quarterback room and was a player who wasn’t on many radars for most of the 2020 recruiting class. Stroud a two-sport athlete spent a fair amount of time playing varsity basketball in high school and was late to focusing solely on football. His rise through the Elite-11 and winning the QB competition is what put him on the Buckeyes’ radar and ultimately lead them to give him an offer. Stroud was with the team in 2020 and while he never threw an actual pass he did have a 60+ yard touchdown run. Due to knowing the playbook and having some while limited experience, Stroud is considered the favorite to win the starting job as of right now.

Courtesy of Cincinnati.com

True freshman and five-star quarterback out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kyle McCord joined the team this off-season. He’s currently ranked as the fifth quarterback in his class and currently the only five-star quarterback in the room. Kyle committed to Ohio State back in 2019 and was technically committed before Stroud. McCord’s senior season was delayed because of Covid, so he joined the team a bit later. Due to coming in a year later, McCord is presumed to be a bit behind both Stroud and Miller in learning and understanding the offense. However, McCord has more talent than both which has helped close the gap. Many believe the race is close between McCord and Stroud and that McCord has already jumped Jack Miller on the depth chart.

Jack Miller another redshirt freshman was the first of the three to commit to the Buckeyes. Miller a high four-star quarterback out of Scottsdale, Arizona seemed to have fallen to third on the depth chart. Miller reportedly dealt with some personal losses off the field and an injury that may have hindered his development. However, we must not forget he was a highly-touted prospect and still has a ton of promise.

Head coach Ryan Day has given multiple hints that this battle will go into the upcoming training camps, and likely won’t be made until a week or so before the Minnesota game is ready to kick off on Thursday night on August 28th.

So what happens if Quinn is with the Buckeyes in 2021?

If Quinn Ewers does join the Buckeyes in the coming weeks, we could see all kinds of chaos at The Ohio State University. Many have already started to talk about how head coach Ryan Day has been over recruiting at certain positions. How it could lead to some angst amongst the players and in these position rooms. That is a discussion for another day but Ewers is considered by many to be a transcendent quarterback prospect.

Courtesy of 247Sports

Once Ewers joins the team at least one of these quarterbacks is transferring. Miller seems to be the likely bet, as he seems to already be third on the depth chart. Miller could easily transfer out and head back west. Where he likely could land and find a starting job no later than next season.

So what does that do for McCord and Stroud? I’ve been on record saying that I believe Kyle McCord wins the starting job. That would mean Stroud is the number “2” quarterback. However, Ewers is a three-year player. Meaning the likelihood of him redshirting for an extra year of college is very doubtful. It’s hard to imagine that Ewers would be ready to be the backup after likely only seeing three to four weeks of practice before the season starts.

That being said we’ve seen something close to this at Clemson back in 2018. When then true freshman Trevor Lawrence, (whom Quinn Ewers is compared to) would eventually take over as the starter over incumbent starter Kelly Bryant. Lawrence would go on to win his only National Championship in that season. The major difference between the two scenarios is, both McCord and Stroud are widely considered much better prospects than Bryant ever was and both could take Ohio State to a National Championship this year.

If Ewers is with the team in 2021, I don’t believe either McCord or Stroud transfer out yet because I can’t see how Ewers gets on the field unless the starter falters during the season. Stroud the presumptive starter has Heisman odd’s and if McCord wins the job he should get close to the same odds as well. While Ewers may be considered the “better” talent, neither McCord nor Stroud will back down or should be taken lightly based on their skills. McCord or Stroud regardless of Ewers being with the team will be named as the starter and should hold that job all season.

The Future

The start of the 2022 season is what changes for this group now if Ewers joins the team in 2021. While joining in January of 2022 there could have been an argument that he would compete for the starting job in 2022. However, it seemed more likely the incumbent starter from 2021 had they had a successful season, would be the likely leader and have to be outclassed by Ewers to lose the job.

Ewers being with the team and getting a chance to watch and learn for the 2021 season I think likely points to whom Ohio State believes is their future. Outside of the 2021 starting quarterback winning a National Championship, I believe Quinn will be the starter. So what does that mean for McCord and Stroud’s future?

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Assuming McCord win’s the job as I expect he will likely have a year’s worth of experience. Even if he doesn’t win the job he gets a year of training and learning with Ryan Day would still be helpful. I believe at this point McCord would likely transfer out, as he is better than 99% of the current starting quarterbacks in college. McCord could realistically transfer to just about any school and start for them today. If McCord is passed over the closest comparison I could make is him becoming the next Joe Burrow, a talented quarterback who leaves the school he wanted to play for and goes on to have great success.

Stroud would likely transfer out as well as he would at this point in 2022 be a redshirt sophomore and able to come out into the 2023 NFL draft if he so chooses. Whether he gets the experience as a starter or backup, much like McCord, Stroud could start for 99% of college teams today as well. With him likely wanting to improve his draft stock, he would likely go to a team where he could start and show his worth immediately.

What happens if Quinn Ewers doesn’t win the job?

Ewers arriving a year early could also make things more complicated for him. If he doesn’t win the job outright as a freshman, does he become the number two? Forcing one of either Stroud or McCord out the door. Assuming the starter plays well and Ewers doesn’t see any playing time in 2021, it would then lead to a battle in 2022. Assuming Ryan Day doesn’t just hand the job to Ewers. He would be going up against an incumbent starter who had enough success to keep him off the field the year prior. Ewers could become frustrated and possibly end up transferring out himself, this would cause another wide ripple effect through college football seeing such a highly-touted player transferring after one season. While that may not matter to the Buckeyes as they then would have a quarterback who was able to beat out Ewers, it could matter for the future of recruiting. Would more of the top players want to come to The Ohio State Buckeyes and play for Ryan Day with so much discourse in the most important room on the team? While the likelihood of Ewers transferring is slim it is a possibility. All of the scenarios could cause major program-changing ripple effects to happen.

What to do in C2C or Devy leagues?

In any and all formats if you have shares of Kyle McCord or C.J. Stroud, I would advise you to hold steady. As stated above, both are two of the more talented quarterbacks in college. Whether they start for one year at Ohio State, two years, or transfer out. Their value only has a chance to skyrocket once they take the field and we are able to see exactly why they are so sought after now. Stroud currently sits as our consensus QB8 with an ADP of 37.00. While Kyle McCord sits as our consensus QB22.6 with an ADP of 86.20. Both could see a slide in the coming days and should be screaming values if someone panics over the Ewers news.

In less than one year’s time, we could see The Ohio State University go from one of the most loaded quarterback rooms to one of the more baron quarterback rooms. Buoyed only by one of the highest-rated quarterbacks to enter the college ranks.

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