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C.J. Stroud has yet to attempt a pass in his brief collegiate career, but that doesn’t mean Buckeye wideouts aren’t impressed with him. Ahead of Ohio State’s season opener at Minnesota, the Buckeye receiving room is pumping up their shiny new toy and comparing him with one of the NFL’s top signal callers.
Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline said he's been impressed by the poise shown by C.J. Stroud, the Buckeyes' newly named starting quarterback.
"He's able to hit a throw, be able happy about it. Miss a throw, move on to the next throw."
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) August 26, 2021
Garrett Wilson, expected to be one of Stroud’s top targets, previously compared the quarterback with Pro Bowler Russell Wilson because of their ability to throw a deep ball:
“That comparison came about because Russell Wilson throws the best deep ball. To me, him or Aaron Rodgers. And just the way the ball lands, like, falls on the receiver, it makes it so you can choose how to play those types of balls. So you can either let it fall over your shoulder or go up and high-point it, depending on what feels more comfortable, what you feel like gives you the best chance to make the play. And that’s one thing that as a receiver, you love having someone that drops the ball on you, versus not being able to react as much.
“The way he throws it, he always gives you a chance, is the best way to put it. Sometimes a deep pass can be hard to react to if it’s on a line. So the fact that the ball falls on you gives you a better chance to make the catch, easier to react to.”
Sophomore Jaxon Smith-Nijba added: “He can put it places where defenders can’t get to it. He’s always been a competitor. That’s what I love about him. And he’s gotten way physically stronger. So his arm, he can sling it.”
Stroud’s NFL-like traits will be on display for the first time Thursday evening when the Buckeyes visit Minnesota. The 6’4 QB saw action in three games last fall, but he did not attempt a pass. Stroud’s lack of in-game experience is of little concern to the Buckeyes.
“I got all the confidence in C.J.,” said receiver Chris Olave. “I believe in him, just like I believe in (other receivers), so I believe in him making the right throws and the right reads, and he’s gonna do that.”
FanDuel Sportsbook currently lists Ohio State as 13.5 point road favorites for Stroud’s QB1 launch party.