May 25, 2024

HOUSTON — Since the common draft era in 1967, there have been 817 quarterbacks drafted. One hundred eight of those made the Pro Bowl.

Some have come from traditional powerhouses like Notre Dame and Michigan, and some have come from schools like North Dakota State and Wyoming.

But perennial powerhouse Ohio State has the second-most wins in college football history and has yet to have a quarterback become a Pro Bowler.

But through the first nine games of rookie C.J. Stroud’s career with the Houston Texans, he is building a case to become the first Buckeye signal-caller to do so — and maybe even contend for the MVP.

Stroud leads the league in passing yards per game (291.8) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (15 to 2), and his 15 scores are four behind leaders Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. He also broke the record for most pass attempts to start a career without an interception (186).

On Sunday, the Texans snapped the Cincinnati Bengals’ four-game winning streak with a 30-27 victory, as Stroud led a winning drive for the second straight week and became the third rookie to throw for 350 yards — Cam Newton (2011) and Andrew Luck (2012) are the others — with 356 passing yards.

That came one week after Stroud set the single-season record for most passing yards (470) for a rookie in a 39-37 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His 826 passing yards over his past two games is the second most by an NFL rookie over a two-game span, trailing only Newton’s 854 yards in 2011.

Stroud is a big reason the Texans are 5-4, marking the latest in a season they’ve been over .500 since the end of 2019. Houston has a 58.4% chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, after entering the season at 15%.

Stroud is aware of the narrative about Ohio State quarterbacks, but it doesn’t bother him, and he wants to dispel any doubts.

“Stories have been written about Ohio State quarterbacks that aren’t necessarily true, and for me, that’s fine,” Stroud said. “It’s my job to go out there and prove that wrong and try to prove that we’re getting prepared the right way at Ohio State.”

OHIO STATE HAS had 14 quarterbacks drafted in the common draft era, and four have gone in the first round: Art Schlichter (No. 4, 1982), the late Dwayne Haskins (No. 15, 2019), Justin Fields (No. 11, 2021) and Stroud.

There have been later-round picks like Cardale Jones and Troy Smith, who had decorated college careers but got few opportunities in the NFL.

There’s also Joe Burrow — the No. 1 pick in 2020. Burrow redshirted at Ohio State in 2015, played in five games as J.T. Barrett’s backup in 2016 and then broke a bone in his throwing hand before the start of the 2017 season. The next spring, he battled Haskins for the starting job, with Haskins winning out.

In May 2018, Burrow transferred to LSU, where he led an undefeated Tigers team to a national championship in the 2019 season, but because he went from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the NFL, he is not considered as an OSU draft pick.

The only player from Ohio State to start over 40 games in the NFL is Mike Tomczak, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears in 1985 and started 73 games for the Bears, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in 15 seasons.

Overall, Ohio State quarterbacks in the NFL have a 91-128-1 record, and Fields, who has a career record of 7-26, is the only other active starter.

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