While they are back, the other two scholarship signal-callers from last season are gone. Jack Miller III transferred to Florida after Quinn Ewers returned to his home state to play for the Texas Longhorns.
That leaves Stroud the starter, McCord his backup and early-enrollee Devin Brown working to get acclimated to college life.
With them coming from the classes of 2020, ‘21 and ‘22, things appear to line up perfectly for head coach Ryan Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis.
After a record-setting season in which he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Stroud is in position to be one of the best in the country this fall then could be one of the first players taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.
That would of course clear the way for McCord to become the starter in his third college season, something he is not worried about yet… but is fully aware of.
“I think there’s still a long way to go from now until next year, so I’m just focused on the present,” McCord said. “But when you look at the long-term picture, I guess you could say it cleared itself up (when Ewers and Miller transferred).”
Stroud’s stellar season left no doubt he will be The Man at Ohio State in 2022, and it opened the door to speculation McCord might prefer to find somewhere else he could compete for a starting job rather than wait in the wings another year.
But McCord called that sentiment “ridiculous.”
“Especially now with the transfer portal, I feel like if something isn’t going the way a guy expected it to, fans and even the player might think I can just put my name in the portal and change a situation like that,” McCord said.
However, head coach Ryan Day suggested at the beginning of the week McCord had bought into the idea he can develop as a quarterback in Columbus even if he is not starting, and the player confirmed as much Wednesday.
“I mean, what more could I want being at a school like this, getting coached by the best coaches in the world?” McCord said. “I didn’t really even think about (transferring) at all to be honest. And I think you just have to see the bigger picture. I mean, yeah, do I want to play this year? Of course, but I think you’ve got to look at it from a long-term perspective.”
With a year under his belt, McCord feels much more comfortable, and he can focus more on the little things it takes to become a great quarterback.
“The game’s slowing down, so I think just the combination of all that is just a confidence booster when you step out there on the field,” he said. “I feel like I’m at a totally different comfort level, seeing things quicker and anticipating.”