The transfer portal gives NCAA football players unprecedented influence, yet it can rob us of potentially epic redemption arcs, such as the one Kyle McCord could’ve had if he stuck it out at Ohio State.
Unfortunately for McCord, a future in Columbus doesn’t appear to be in the cards, as he entered into the transfer portal on Monday.
After beating out Devin Brown for the starting quarterback job, McCord had 24 TDs to only six INTs in his one season as the Buckeyes’ starter. His last throw will live in infamy in Ohio State lore, though — an interception against Michigan to abruptly halt what could’ve been a legendary game-winning drive:
It’s crazy to think that one, single play and possession was, in all likelihood, the difference between McCord starting at Ohio State in 2024 and playing elsewhere. The reality is, McCord is a statuesque pocket passer. That’s not really the way modern quarterbacking is going. Unless you’re as gifted of an arm talent as Michael Penix Jr. — who, to be fair, is a sixth-year senior and has had so many reps and time to develop — it’s gonna be hard to stick at an elite program.
McCord is bound to have plentiful opportunities to start elsewhere. It’s just hard to look at his departure from the Buckeyes as anything but a massive step down. Then again, I’m sure it felt that way for Joe Burrow when he rode the bench for three years. After a middling first season at LSU, he had arguably the best season in college football history and led the Tigers to a national title.
Tough break that Day managed to lure Quinn Ewers from his home state of Texas, only to redshirt him behind CJ Stroud and watch Ewers lead the Longhorns to the College Football Playoff this season. Not that starting Stroud was the wrong move. Far from it. That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Could still be poetic justice of sorts if Ewers topples Michigan for the natty!
Quinn Ewers could really finish his Buckeye Business by ending Jim Harbaugh’s career at Michigan in the National Championship. pic.twitter.com/DjnZVcSMsv
On Ohio State’s IRL end of this McCord transfer, however, his departure creates uncertainty. That can be exciting, as Ryan Day could well find an upgrade at the most important position on the field via the portal. Only problem is that nothing’s guaranteed. Plus, you’re likely going to have someone learning a new offense, as opposed to the continuity McCord would’ve represented.
Vandagriff was a more highly touted recruit from what I can recall and see now looking back on him. I like his size, athleticism, arm talent and three years of college football experience. He’s bound to have a chip on his shoulder after getting beat out by Carson Beck and being stuck behind Stetson Bennett during the Bulldogs’ previous back-to-back national title runs.
It doesn’t hurt to have seen what it takes to win at the highest level of college football. For all those reasons, Vandagriff should be an appealing candidate who’s squarely on Ohio State’s radar.