Early on Monday, it was announced that Ohio State QB Kyle McCord would enter the transfer portal. What are the top destinations for the former highly-touted recruit, and where can he finish his collegiate career on a high note?
Transfer Landing Spots for Kyle McCord
McCord has officially entered the transfer portal. Now, it’s time to see where he suits up in 2023.
McCord was a highly-touted recruit in the 2021 cycle, with five-star and four-star billings across the network. Hailing from Philadelphia, he signed with Ohio State and served as C.J. Stroud’s backup for two years before taking the reins in 2023.
On the surface, 2023 was reasonably successful for McCord and the Buckeyes. Ohio State went 11-1 in the regular season and earned a Cotton Bowl Classic appearance against the ninth-ranked Missouri Tigers.
Individually, McCord produced appealing numbers as well, completing 229-of-348 attempts (65.8%) for 3,170 yards, 24 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.
That said, McCord’s performance wasn’t always as clean as the stat sheet implied, and his decision to enter the transfer portal is an indication that Ryan Day and the Buckeyes already have plans to move on and seek an upgrade.
McCord, now entering his senior season, has just one year of eligibility remaining. He’ll have to make it count, but he has the arm talent and experience to make one QB-needy team very happy. Which teams could be in the mix for him?
Michigan State Spartans
If McCord aims to stay within the Big Ten and prove himself against top-flight competition, then Michigan State is one of the best options available.
The Spartans are dealing with a crashing wave of roster turnover, and currently have no quarterbacks on scholarship. But new head coach Jonathan Smith, hailing from Oregon State, is a respected offensive mind and team developer, so there’s optimism that he can build MSU back up.
The Spartans’ old regime offered McCord out of high school, and now, McCord could be the one to give MSU a jolt when they need it, while also getting one more chance to beat Michigan and Ohio State.
McCord played high school ball in Philadelphia, so perhaps a desire to move closer to home could influence his transfer decision. Temple is right on the doorstep, but there’s a Power Five QB opening available with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers have been trying, and failing, to maintain high-quality play at QB following Kenny Pickett’s departure to the NFL. Transfer additions Kedon Slovis and Phil Jurkovec were unsuccessful, but McCord could change the tide.
Bub Means declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, but as of now, Pitt’s top pass-catcher Konata Mumpfield is staying put.
Moving down south, there’s another Power Five school that offered McCord in high school who could use a QB: the Baylor Bears.
Dave Aranda and the Bears are searching for any kind of path forward. Since Aranda’s conference-winning 12-2 campaign in 2021, the program has starkly regressed, and now, there’s a good chance that starting QB Blake Shapen will enter the portal.
It remains to be seen how much weaponry Baylor will keep in 2024, but McCord could have a chance to help resurrect the program as the Big 12 landscape shifts away from Texas and Oklahoma.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
More likely than not, McCord will want to stay at the Power Five level to avoid a drop-off in competition before he makes his bid for the 2025 NFL Draft. But if he’s open to joining the Group of Five, there are a couple of schools with beneficial connections for him.
The first is Tulsa — where Kevin Wilson, former Ohio State offensive coordinator, is now the head coach. Wilson helped call plays for C.J. Stroud and McCord. Wilson worked with McCord for his entire Buckeyes career before this season.
The Golden Hurricane does have a promising young QB in Cardell Williams, but familiarity amounts to a lot in college football, and Wilson could rely on McCord to help Tulsa build on its 4-8 2023 campaign.
Old Dominion Monarchs
The second Group of Five connection for McCord resides at Old Dominion. The Monarchs’ head coach Ricky Rahne, who coached ODU to bowl eligibility in 2023, was heavily involved in the recruitment of McCord when he was Penn State’s offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019.
McCord attended camps at Penn State as early as 2017, and Rahne visited McCord as well. Penn State’s timeline ultimately lined up differently, with Drew Allar joining the 2022 class. Rahne and McCord could use this opportunity to reconnect and take over the Sun Belt.