Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has been named the starter for the 2017 season, but redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud is already making his presence felt in practice and could be a dark horse candidate to start at some point this year.

The Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud grabs early lead in Ohio State’s QB competition is a story about the quarterback competition at Ohio State University.

Coach Ryan Day said Monday that Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is distinguishing himself in the team’s quarterback battle, but no decision on the starting position has been made yet.

During training camp, Stroud, a redshirt freshman, has been competing alongside redshirt freshman Jack Miller and true freshman Kyle McCord. Quinn Ewers, a highly touted 2022 quarterback prospect who reclassified recently, joined the squad for preseason practice on Monday. Day complimented all of Ohio State’s quarterbacks’ progress and said that depth chart choices would be made closer to the team’s season opening against Minnesota on Sept. 2. During practice this week, however, Stroud will see more time with the first-team offense.

Ohio State is looking to replace star quarterback Justin Fields, who was drafted first overall in the NFL draft in April.

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“I’m not sure how much separation there is,” Day said of Stroud. “But every day he’s been competing, he’s been taking care of the football, making smart choices, and he’s been a leader.” “Those are all characteristics we’ve been searching for, and pushing the team down the field to score touchdowns is certainly one of them.”

“Understand no decision has been made yet,” Day added, “but that’s where it’s at.” The competition for the No. 2 quarterback position behind Stroud will continue for the remainder of camp.

“I believe all those players realize and will continue to recognize that it’s a long season,” Day said. “We’re talking about going all the way to January, so based on my previous experience, we’ll need everyone. One thing is certain: there will be one starting for the first play against Minnesota, and from there, we’ll see where things go.”

Last season, Stroud, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound product of Rancho Cucamonga, California, played in three games and scored a 48-yard running touchdown against Michigan State. In Ohio State’s spring game, Stroud threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Stroud’s body of work over the last few weeks of practice, according to Day, has given him the upper hand. In the 2020 recruiting class, ESPN ranked Stroud as the No. 2 pocket passer and No. 104 overall athlete.

Ewers’ choice to reclassify and enroll at Ohio State was influenced by the name, image, and likeness possibilities available to college athletes, which he would not have had he stayed at Southlake Carroll High School in Texas for his senior year. Day, who disclosed that he initially offered Ewers a scholarship while he was in seventh grade, called Ewers’ early entrance a “unusual circumstance.”

“Everyone is new to this,” Day remarked. “I understand how difficult it was for him to leave his high school friends. I’m sure it was difficult for him to say goodbye to his high school coach. They were very close. It’s simply one of those things; we have to start accepting various circumstances like this, and I’m certain our players will. They’re going to embrace him. We’ve had some well-known men join the program; it happens.

“He’ll do a fantastic job of making his way into the squad and gaining their respect.”

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