Ohio State kicks off spring practice with twists, surprises, and a classic quarterback battle
Columbus, Ohio - Ohio State football is back, as Tuesday marked the Buckeyes' first day en route to the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship in Houston.
The Ohio State had lots to get hyped about during their first official spring practice of the year.
First things first: Ohio State quarterback Devin Brown shocked the football world with a new uniform number - 33.
While passers traditionally wear numbers between 0-19, Brown has decided to don the number 33 to pay homage to Sammy Baugh, the first ever quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"That's the original quarterback number, in my opinion," Brown told reporters on Tuesday. "I want to rock the original quarterback number."
Buckeyes running backs Miyan Williams, Chip Trayanum, and Dallan Hayden went into the practice rotation, respectively. And adding more depth to the team's offense, Marvin Harrison Jr. broke out during Ohio State's first spring practice with a new role: punt returner. With both Emeka Egbuka and junior receiver Julian Fleming rehabbing minor injuries, head coach Ryan Day likely wants to build depth during punt returns, and wants Harrison Jr. more involved on offense.
Day revealed to the press that this spring will be huge for second-year receivers Kojo Antwi, Kaleb Brown, and Kyion Grayes, as freshman newcomers Carnell Tate, Noah Rogers and Bryson Rodgers are pushing them to their physical limits.
"The three guys that came in have already made an impact. We've been impressed with them," Day reflected about the 2023 receiver class.
Yet, not everyone came out of the gate strong and steady. Second-year Caleb Burton suffered an injury on Tuesday, and according to his teammates, heard "a pop" during a drill.
Kyle McCord, Devin Brown, Tristan Gebbia lock into a classic quarterback battle for Ohio State
With two-year starter CJ Stroud off to the NFL Draft next month, Ohio State is in dire need of a new starting quarterback replacement.
Luckily, the Buckeyes have third-year Kyle McCord, second-year Devin Brown, and Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia all battling in a tough fight for the QB1 spot.
"Those guys are gonna compete and get a ton of reps," Day said. "We have 3 groups running at a time, so there’s lots of reps to go around."
While McCord led during Tuesday's quarterback drills, possibly hinting at his current ranking for the position, Coach Day revealed what he is looking for in the Buckeyes' next leading passer.
"I think the first thing is leadership. You have to be felt and heard," he said. "It’s our job as quarterbacks to lead the team, being that leader is critically important."
"And then toughness," he added. "The quarterback doesn’t need to be superhuman. He just needs to make the routine plays routinely."
The Ohio State Buckeyes' annual Scarlet and Gray spring game will kick off on April 15 at 12 PM EST.
Cover photo: CARMEN MANDATO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP