Ohio State Football: Names to Watch for Buckeye QB Spot as Kyle McCord Transfers

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Photo Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

As Ohio State QB Kyle McCord enters the transfer portal, here are some notable options to replace No. 6 under center next year for the Buckeyes. 

The man under the center for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team will yet again be a new face when the 2024 season rolls around. Junior quarterback Kyle McCord announced earlier this week he would be transferring away from the program after three years with one season as the starter.

McCord finished the 2023 campaign with a respectable 65.8 percent completion percentage with 3,170 passing yards. He also threw 24 passing touchdowns with six interceptions in his 12 games this season. He threw for a career-high 335 passing yards against Michigan State, career-high 3 touchdowns five times, and led a memorable full-field game-winning touchdown drive week four at Notre Dame.

With McCord announcing the transfer ahead of the bowl game, it will give Ohio State a good chance to look at the rest of their quarterback room. This position group will be the talk of the town ahead of the Cotton Bowl matchup against the Missouri Tigers on December 29th in Dallas, Texas. Let’s dive into the top options for the Buckeyes for both the bowl game and the starting spot for next season.

Devin Brown

The Sophomore quarterback from Gilbert, Arizona has seen very limited stats in his second year with the program. He has thrown 22 passes and completed 12 of them this season for 197 yards. He has two passing touchdowns and one interception. Additionally, he was used a good amount on the goal line rushing 19 times for 35 yards and a touchdown.

The 6 ‘3 quarterback and former four-star prospect will be expected to play at least some of the Cotton Bowl, and has a great chance to showcase his skills against a solid defense. With the team looking for another quarterback in the transfer portal, this will be his last chance to showcase his skill set nationally as the long offseason debate begins.

Lincoln Kienholz

The 6’2 freshman from Pierre, South Dakota has thrown just five passes in his first season of college football. He completed four of them for 25 yards, but may have the chance to throw more than those splits in the bowl game alone. With the McCord departure, Kienholz will slot into the quarterback two on the depth chart, and may see snaps regardless of Brown’s play or health.

Another former four-star prospect, the talent can definitely be developed with the success and run of play the position at Ohio State. However, freshman rarely play at this school in the quarterback room, so he has not had much time to show what he is capable of. With an older, more experienced option likely coming in, next year is a great chance for Kienholz to showcase his arm and maybe earn the starting spot for 2025, if he stays.

Cam Ward

The 6 ‘2 Junior quarterback from West Columbia, Texas spent his first two seasons at Incarnate Word, where he started both seasons and threw for nearly 7,000 yards and had 71 passing touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He then made the move to Washington State where he has spent two seasons as the starter.

After a solid 2022 campaign, Ward improved slightly in every major statistical passing category this past season. His time as a cougar he has thrown for 6,966 yards with 48 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He has completed 64.5 percent of his passes in his college career, but also has 16 rushing touchdowns on the ground over four years. It has been rumored he is a top target for the Buckeyes and has also shown great interest. If he transfers, he will be arguably the favorite to start the year for the buckeyes.

Riley Leonard

The 6’4 Junior quarterback from Fairhope, Alabama showed great flashes in his third-year with the Duke Blue Devils this season before suffering an injury that knocked him out for the rest of the season. Leonard threw just 62 passes his first year with the program, and took the starting spot his Sophomore year. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards and rushed for nearly 700 more, with 33 total touchdowns.

2023 he featured in seven games with the first five being the healthy starts. He threw for 1,1102 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Adding 352 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. The dual-threat and big size of Leonard makes him a very intriguing solution to the quarterback question, and is rumored to be at the top of the transfer list for the team along with Cam Ward.

Dillon Gabriel

The 5’11 Senior quarterback has spent five seasons with two different teams and has been the starter in all five. In his college career he has amassed 14,865 passing yards, 125 passing touchdowns, and 26 interceptions. He has run for 1,060 yards with 26 rushing touchdowns. His first three seasons with UCF, he played an instrumental part to them being as successful as they have been as a program. He threw for over 3,500 yards both full seasons at the school, and had at least 29 touchdowns through the air in each.

In 2022 he found a change of scenery with the Oklahoma Sooners, where he found similar success. Both seasons as a Sooner he has eclipsed 3,100 yards and 25 passing touchdowns, and has found success on the ground as well. A strong arm and willing runner, Gabriel is more of a dark horse candidate to be a Buckeye and lead the team in 2024. With a young quarterback room and plenty of transfer options, the debate for the 2024 starting quarterback is one that will be had all off-season for Buckeye Nation.