CJ Stroud is one of two quarterbacks signed by the Buckeyes in the 2020 recruiting class. He is also one of two quarterbacks to enroll early. Along with Jack Miller, Stroud gives head coach Ryan Day a pair of blue-chippers who will be able to provide depth this season.
Getting them both to enroll early only makes matters better for the Buckeyes.
Stroud may have enrolled early, but he was a late arriver on the Ohio State recruiting radar. From Rancho Cucamonga, California, Stroud didn’t really begin his OSU recruitment until last summer. It didn’t take him long to realize where he wanted to be. It also didn’t take him long to realize he wanted to be there as soon as possible.
Now that he’s a Buckeye and on campus, Stroud is making the most of the opportunity he’s been given. He is taking part in winter workouts with strength coach Mickey Marotti, and he’s also able to dive into head coach Ryan Day’s playbook.
“It’s great. Enrolling early has definitely been a blessing to get a head start and get used to everything before the summer comes,” Stroud said. “It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been hard. The coaches, coach Mick, coach Day, they make it easy on us, so that’s been a blessing.”
Even though they are currently out of season and there aren’t any practices going on, Stroud is still plenty busy learning his craft.
“We often meet after every workout,” he said. “We will go over things, like we started off going over protections and now we’re going over plays. Going over the run game. So, we have barely put our feet in the water, but we’re getting used to things.”
One of the things Stroud has learned so far is that there is some familiarity with his offense back in high school and the offense he is coming into at Ohio State.
“It’s very similar. A lot of the things they’re asking me to do here, I’ve done in high school,” he said. “So, you’ve already seen the offense and I think they are going to tailor it to me. And also to the other quarterbacks, kind of like how Justin [Fields] has more of a run game, Dwayne [Haskins] kind of had more passing. I think they’ll make it perfect for me.”
What Day and his offensive staff may eventually find is that they can tailor their offense to its overall strengths, and not just the quarterback.
“I feel like my game is very versatile,” Stroud said. “I think I do a lot of things good if you ask me. But I don’t like to brag. But I just think I can run pretty well and I can throw. I think I can run a lot better than people predict me to. So, I think my accuracy is good and I think I’ll be able to read defenses and pick defenses apart.”
Stroud impressed the nation’s best programs last year. Beginning in the summer at the Elite 11 Finals, which he won, and then continuing to his senior season where he threw for 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns. His performances earned him the ranking as the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback.
A talented passer with underrated escapability, Stroud could end up as the complete package for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In the here and now, however, he’s still just a true freshman trying to be as prepared as possible for the time when he is called upon. That’s where his focus is heading into spring ball.
“Just to learn the playbook, grind, just whatever God has in store for me I’ll be ready for it,” he said. “But I just want to learn from Justin, learn from Jack, learn from Jagger [LaRoe], all the guys. Learn from coach Day and coach [Corey] Dennis and just be a sponge and soak up everything my freshman year and be ready to play whenever my name is called.”