What felt inevitable is now official—Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is heading to the NFL.
That shouldn't come as a surprise. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist had another spectacular season in 2022, throwing for 3,688 yards, 41 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 66.3 percent of his passes.
He's a potential top-five pick, so heading to the NFL was the right decision. But it creates a major question mark at the most important position on the field for the Buckeyes, quarterback.
Here's a look at how the offensive depth chart might look in the 2023 season:
- QB: Kyle McCord / Devin Brown
- RB: Miyan Williams / TreVeyon Henderson / Dallan Hayden / Chip Trayanum
- WR (X): Marvin Harrison Jr. / Jayden Ballard
- WR (Z): Julian Fleming / Kyion Grayes
- SWR: Emeka Egbuka / Kaleb Brown
- TE: Cade Stover / Gee Scott Jr. / Joe Royer
- LT: Zen Michalski
- LG: Donovan Jackson
- C: Luke Wypler / Jakob James
- RG: Tegra Tshabola
- RT: Josh Fryar
And here are the notable incoming freshmen on the offensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes, per 247Sports.com:
- 5-stars: WR Brandon Inniss
- 4-stars: WR Noah Rogers, IOL Luke Montgomery, WR Carnell Tate, TE Jelani Thurman, QB Lincoln Kienholz, IOL Joshua Padilla, IOL Austin Siereveld, WR Bryson Rodgers
So that group of players could also worm their way into the depth chart situation.
Overall, this will still be a stacked team, rife with offensive weapons. The healthy one-two punch of Williams and Henderson at running back—both battled injuries this past season—will make the Buckeyes dangerous on the ground.
Harrison Jr., meanwhile, may be the most talented player in all of college football, period, next season. Certainly, he and Egbuka comprise the most dangerous receiving duo in the sport.
So whoever emerges as the starting quarterback—and barring a big move in the transfer portal, McCord is the clear frontrunner—he won't have any shortage of playmakers to rely on.
Expecting anybody to replicate Stroud's impressive run over the past two seasons is probably folly. But the Buckeyes have enough talent that they only need a quarterback who can avoid bad decisions and costly turnovers.
Get the ball to the explosive playmakers and let them handle the rest, in other words.