The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about Ohio State coach Ryan Day and the future at quarterback? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
How excited are you about the addition of Kyle McCord? (From the limited tape I've seen he looks phenomenal) Is there another quarterback in the 2021 class that you would have rather seen the Buckeyes pick up?
— OsuSuperman (@OsuSuperman) April 30, 2019
If recruiting, retaining and developing quarterbacks is now a roller-coaster ride in college football, it certainly helps Ohio State that Ryan Day seems immune to motion sickness. His first few months on the job have already put him to the test, and this stretch could have been devastating to the future of the program given the importance of that position.
But Day proved remarkably deft in navigating all the highs and lows that come with managing the depth chart at quarterback. And his well-earned reputation is clearly paying dividends as the Buckeyes try to establish a new blueprint after needing to completely scrap the old one once it became clear Dwayne Haskins was heading to the NFL Draft. Beyond the well-documented departures of Haskins, Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin and the massive addition of Justin Fields, Ohio State has picked up pledges from three new guys just since Friday. And while they each come with varying degrees of importance at this stage in their careers, all of them now serve as a reminder that Day is a hot commodity and elevating the program’s ability to attract quality passers.
As for the latest pickup, McCord seems to have all of the tools necessary to be a productive option in Day’s system. But as a 2021 recruit, it’s worth a reminder that his opportunity to lead the Buckeyes would be several years into the future. And as Martell and Baldwin just proved, even what appears to be the safest succession plan can easily be derailed in the age of the transfer portal. McCord looks to have been the best possible option for Ohio State in that class, though, and landing him now provides a number of benefits for Day — starting with removing the need to recruit a quarterback after spending seemingly all of his time doing that and dealing with the portal since he took over in January.
With his four-star credentials, McCord is obviously going to be a key fixture down the road for the Buckeyes. But in the short term, the addition of Gunnar Hoak is clearly the biggest deal for Day. The Kentucky transfer has two years of eligibility, which fortifies the top-two spots on the depth chart and gives Ohio State a chance to exhale after effectively losing all margin for error behind Fields after spring camp. Assuming Fields lives up the lofty expectations, he and Hoak can guide the Buckeyes until Jack Miller arrives and gets ready for his turn, with JP Andrade developing in reserve and McCord coming along after that in the 2021 recruiting class.
How much of this would have been possible without Day helping mold Haskins into a first-round NFL Draft pick? To some extent, Ohio State sells itself to recruits — but that hasn’t necessarily always been the case when it comes to top-shelf quarterbacks. When it comes to landing the most coveted prospects in the country at that spot, it is undoubtedly a huge boost for Day that he can point to Haskins and a high-powered offense that is evolving with pro-style concepts when he’s trying to stock the cupboard for the future.
There have been bumps along the way since Ohio State either couldn’t or wouldn’t find a way to appease the mercurial Martell, and Day certainly wanted to keep Baldwin in the fold. But in two seasons as a coordinator and a couple months as the coach of the Buckeyes, it’s already clear what kind of impact Ryan Day is having when it comes to quarterbacks.
Ohio State is again well-stocked with arms, and the program appears to be in good hands.
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