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What are Buckeyes looking for in quarterback prospects?

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The decision by Ryan Day to pick Kyle McCord over J.J. McCarthy could define his Ohio State tenure. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

What are Buckeyes looking for in quarterback prospects?

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today’s question wonders what Ryan Day and Ohio State is actually searching for in a quarterback prospect

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

Ryan Day was given the reins to Ohio State’s quarterback recruiting last summer after a year working under Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes had spent almost a year evaluating current 2020 commitment Jack Miller by that time. So, when the choice was given to Day whether or not make Miller the guy, he didn’t hesitate and welcomed a verbal commit from the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Arizona standout on July 1.

Miller is the player Day and his coaching staff want to lead the offense into the future, and similarities between him, 2021 quarterback commit Kyle McCord and record-breaking former Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins can certainly be seen. But just considering their statures and 40-yard-dash times doesn’t paint the full picture of what led Day to them.

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Ryan Day knows quarterbacks and his choice at the position in 2020 and 2021 will likely define his head coaching career. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State made a choice this spring between McCord and a host of other quarterbacks. That decision included Illinois standout J.J. McCarthy, who committed quickly to Michigan following McCord’s verbal to the Buckeyes. That choice will likely define the next few years of the rivalry between the two Big Ten foes, and it wasn’t made without an understanding of the potential consequences.

In May, following McCord’s announcement that he was heading to Columbus, a source close to Ohio State tried to explain why he was the right choice over McCarthy, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and others.

“Ohio State thought he had the most upside,” the source said. “His throwing motion, the size, the mental makeup, the football IQ and the accuracy.”

Size. Mental makeup. Football IQ. Accuracy. You could also include command of an offense, confidence and the ability to handle — and perform your best — under pressure.

With apologies to a quick release and the ability to throw the ball all over the field confidently and accurately, what matters the most to Ohio State in a quarterback right now isn’t going to entirely show up on highlight film. The ability to put a spiral into a tight window and between defenders is important, but not nearly as vital as the ability to quickly read a defense and react to it. Making the right throw is more important than running a sub-4.7 40 or whatever arbitrary number a program might want from a quarterback.

Some of that is on the tape. Some of it is a personal preference for Ryan Day. Some of it is subjective based on internal conversations between the coaching staff and the players themselves.

All of it counts when trying to find the next face of a program at the most important position.

The best way to stay on top of all that recruiting #stuff? Subscribe to Lettermen Row’s Recruiting with Birm newsletter. 

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dan lucas

i agree reading a defense and making a correct call is important – but equaly important is putting the ball in the right place for the recevier to do something with it. watching jt barrett throw the ball high, behind and low to receviers and leaving them with no chance to run after the catch was brutal. we saw how important this was with haskins laser accuracy.

Birm

Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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