Is Julian Sayin in Contention to Secure the Starting Quarterback Position for the Ohio State Buckeyes Instead of Will Howard?

When Kansas State transfer Will Howard committed and signed with the Ohio State Buckeyes this offseason, it was widely assumed he would step into the starting quarterback role vacated by Kyle McCord. However, as spring practice nears its end, the situation has proven more complex.

According to Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day, true freshman Alabama transfer Julian Sayin is also contending for the starting position and making a strong push.

“He’s in the mix,” Day said of Sayin. “Chip (Kelly) really rolls them, doesn’t matter if they’re with the 1’s, 2’s, or 3’s… This has been a really good sample size to figure out where guys are at, and Julian’s been really competing his tail off.”

Sayin was a significant acquisition for the Buckeyes this offseason, transferring from Alabama after Nick Saban’s retirement. Ranked as the consensus No. 2 quarterback nationally behind Florida’s DJ Lagway in the 2024 recruiting cycle, Sayin quickly made an impact at Ohio State, shedding his black stripe after just nine practices.

Day noted Sayin’s rapid progress, stating, “I guess it was practice 9 when his black stripe came off, but he’s been in there competing, making plays. The guys know, and a lot of times with the black stripe, it’s a lot of time the players. They see it… 9 practices in, you could see he was making a lot of big throws in big spots, even against the 1’s. So the play speaks for itself. Again, usually when you get the black stripe off it’s because you’ve earned the respect of the team, and I think he’s done that.”

Despite Sayin and Howard being the primary focus, Day emphasized that the competition includes three other talented quarterbacks – Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz, and Air Noland.

“I don’t think we’ve narrowed it down, but you’re seeing certain guys make certain plays and certain things are starting to show up in practice,” Day said. “These guys bring great things to the table. The good news is they all can move, and that’s certainly made an impact on the run game.”

Ohio State fans will have their first opportunity to see Sayin, Howard, and Noland in action during the spring game, where standout performances could begin to differentiate the contenders for the starting role.

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