Kyle McCord will start at quarterback for Ohio State in its season opener against Indiana on Saturday, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day announced Tuesday. Though McCord will take the field to start the game in Week 1, Day announced that Devin Brown will also see playing time against the Hoosiers. Of the two options, McCord brings experience to the table. He spent the last two seasons as a backup to former Buckeyes star C.J. Stroud, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
McCord did not see much playing time last season with Stroud staying healthy throughout the year, but he did log a start against Akron in 2021 as a freshman. With Stroud unavailable for the in-state matchup due to injury, McCord flashed plenty of promise by completing 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 319 yards and two touchdowns.
Stroud was able to come back from injury a week later and McCord was relegated to mop-up duty for the rest of the year. He attempted just 20 passes in 2022, though he did throw for 115 yards and one touchdown in an early season blowout win against Toledo.
McCord signed with the Buckeyes in 2021 out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the No. 49 player nationally, the No. 8 quarterback in his class and graded out as a five star in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Competition may still be open
Though McCord will start Saturday, it seems like the competition is still far from over. Day made sure to emphasize during his announcement that the Buckeyes still feel good about playing two quarterbacks.
"I think that's significant, that we have two guys that we feel confident playing in a game," Day said. "This is something that's a little uncharted territory for me. You just go on what you see everyday in practice. I think that Kyle's consistency the last couple weeks has allowed him to be the starter and he deserves that. But I also think Devin deserves to play in the game as well. How much, all that, that's still to be determined."
Day can afford to be patient with his decision. The Buckeyes are 30-point favorites against Indiana, a team that has six wins over the last two years. Ohio State then hosts FCS Youngstown State in Week 2 before one final tune-up game against Western Kentucky.
Getting Brown reps in that span will be valuable, even if McCord retains his starting spot. Brown logged a total of 15 snaps as a freshman last season and missed a few practices in the spring due to a finger injury. He'll have to see the field if Ohio State truly feels like the former top-five quarterback prospect is the future under center.
Keys to a Lamborghini
Whomever ends up as the long-term starter couldn't be inheriting a better situation, even with the lofty expectations placed on their shoulders. Ohio State's wide receiver room is loaded, and it starts at the top with a pair of potential first-round picks in Marvin Harrison Jr. -- an early season Heisman Trophy favorite -- and Emeka Egbuka.
Beyond those two, former five-star Julian Fleming came on strong last season with 533 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Jayden Ballard has track speed and turned heads during the offseason and the Buckeyes just brought in a 2023 signing class highlighted by three top-10 wideouts.
The running back position boasts plenty of experience; Miyan Williams, TreVeyon Henderson, Dallan Hayden and Chip Trayanum are all returning for another season. If Henderson can put his health issues behind him, he has All-American potential after rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns two years ago as a freshman.
Tight end Cade Stover is fresh off a 406-yard, five-touchdown receiving campaign and has a 251-pound frame that holds up well as a blocker. Behind him, Gee Scott Jr. and Joe Royer have both seen the field plenty.
If there is one area of concern for Ohio State's offense, it is along the line where the Buckeyes have to replace both of their starting tackles and a 26-game starter at center. That's not ideal when breaking in a new quarterback, but the Buckeyes' offensive talent at the skill positions could mask any major issues.