C.J. Stroud College Stats: Ohio State Buckeyes Star Turned Houston Texans Record-Holder

    Before taking the Texans to the playoff and defeating the Browns in the Wild Card Round, C.J. Stroud torched defenses for the Buckeyes. Just how good was he?

    Current Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud has taken the NFL by storm, delivering dimes to his receivers and Ls to his opponents. Warranted or not, much of his success was expected as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. What made him worthy of such capital coming out of Ohio State, and how has his skill set transferred so well?

    C.J. Stroud Was Destined for Success

    Stroud was a five-star prospect and the No. 2-ranked pro-style QB coming out of Rancho Cucamonga High School in California. Thus, he had no shortage of suitors, including Georgia, Michigan, USC, and UCLA, but he ultimately committed to the Ohio State University.

    With Justin Fields entrenched as the starter in 2020, Stroud spent his true freshman on the sideline. Fields left for the draft that offseason, and Stroud beat out Kyle McCord, Jack Miller III, and Quinn Ewers for the starting spot. And once he took the reigns of the offense in 2021, he never looked back.

    That season, the CA native completed 317 of 441 attempts (72% completion rate) for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns, and six interceptions. The Buckeyes finished with an 11-2 record (losses to Oregon and Michigan) and a Rose Bowl victory over Utah.

    The accolades piled up, as Stroud earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and Big Ten QB of the Year and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. He was also the only quarterback in OSU history to throw five touchdowns against a Big Ten opponent four times in a single season.

    Sure, having future first-rounders Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba at his disposal was a boon, but Stroud’s accuracy and control of the offense were never in question.

    Expectations were high entering his junior campaign, but Stroud met them head-on.

    He amassed 3,688 yards and 41 TDs through the air vs. just six INTs, becoming the first Big Ten QB to have back-to-back seasons with 30+ TDs and Ohio State’s only two-time Heisman finalist. Although the Buckeyes once again fell to their bitter rivals, the Wolverines, they made the postseason dance as the No. 4 seed.

    MORE: 2024 Top 25 College Football Power Rankings 

    That, of course, meant a date with the No. 1-seeded Georgia Bulldogs. The Buckeyes fell in a 42-41 instant-classic playoff game, and Stroud’s performance — 23 of 34 for 348 yards, four TDs, and no turnovers — against one of the greatest defenses to grace a collegiate field all but solidified his draft stock.

    Stroud announced his decision to enter the draft on Jan. 17, 2023, officially ending his Buckeyes career. Here’s a quick snapshot of his most prominent program records:

    • Single-game yards (573 in 2021 vs. Utah)
    • Single-game touchdown passes (6 two times vs. Michigan State and also vs. Utah)
    • Single-season completion rate (71.9% in 2021)
    • Single-season (369.6 in 2021) and career (290.1) passing yards per game
    • Single-season (9 in 2021) and career (15) 300-yard games
    • Single-season and career 400-yard passing games (5 in 2021)

    Stroud’s Record-Breaking Rookie Season

    It was Stroud vs. Alabama’s Bryce Young for the QB1 spot in the 2023 NFL Draft, and while Young went first overall to the Carolina Panthers, Stroud came off the board one pick later to the Texans. It’s unfair to judge a prospect off one season — let alone their rookie campaign — but the two couldn’t have finished Year 1 further away from each other.

    Young’s Panthers “earned” the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft by owning the worst record in the league (2-14) … only that selection is the Chicago Bears’, as Carolina sent it to Chicago as part of the package to trade up for Young last cycle.

    Meanwhile, Stroud ended the regular season with 4,108 yards (eight in the NFL), 23 touchdowns (tied for 13th), and a 100.8 passer rating (sixth), and his Texans earned a playoff berth after winning the AFC South with a 10-7 record.

    But they weren’t just happy to be there, as their talented rookie (16 of 21 for 274 yards and three TDs) led them to a Wild Card victory over the Cleveland Browns.

    In fact, Stroud’s three TD passes are tied for the most by a rookie in NFL playoff history — and he’ll have a chance to break that record in the Divisional Round against the No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens.

    If there’s one thing to take away from Stroud’s college and NFL stats, it’s that he performs his best when the lights are brightest.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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