CJ Stroud is off to the NFL.
The Ohio State quarterback announced Monday that he’s declaring for the NFL draft following two seasons because the Buckeyes’ starter and two top five finishes within the Heisman Trophy voting.
Stroud, who finished fourth within the Heisman voting in 2021 and third this past season, threw for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions during his time in Columbus. He is anticipated to be a high first-round pick within the upcoming draft, maybe even the primary quarterback off the board.
With Monday being the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft, there had been some speculation about Stroud potentially returning to Columbus for his redshirt junior season. In a press release, he admitted the decision-making process has been difficult on him, but he ultimately decided to maneuver on to the professionals.
“This process has been difficult and this decision is certainly one of the toughest I’ve ever needed to make. As a child I dreamed of playing football at the best level and after much prayer, I’ve made the choice that it is time to turn those dreams right into a reality,” Stroud wrote.
A native of California, Stroud was rated No. 51 overall in the category of 2020. He redshirted his first season with Justin Fields in place as OSU’s starter before moving into the QB1 role in 2021. He quickly flourished, throwing for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns.
He followed that up with 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2022, including a 348-yard, four-touchdown performance in a heartbreaking College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia that proved to be his final collegiate game.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Stroud is taken into account a surefire first-round pick who will compete with Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis and a number of others to be the primary quarterback off the board within the 2023 NFL draft.
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) passes against Georgia throughout the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA college football semifinal playoff game, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)