Could Ohio State Football’s C.J. Stroud Have Been Michigan’s Starting QB This Weekend?

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Back in 2019, when C.J. Stroud was in the middle of becoming the hottest commodity still left on the board in the 2020 recruiting class, he took official visits to three schools.

Georgia got the first on Nov. 23, as he attended the Bulldogs’ game against Texas A&M. Ohio State football got the last say five days before Signing Day. That trip was also just two days after Ryan Day, and then-passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich flew out to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., to see him. It’s clear where he stood on their list of priorities.

But in between those two stops was a trip to Ann Arbor, where Michigan made its case.

The Wolverines’ regular season was over as they prepared to play Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes were busy in Indianapolis and playing in the Big Ten Championship Game. There was no football game to go to, so he and his family went to a basketball game between Michigan and Iowa on that Friday night.

The nation’s No. 42 player and No. 2 pro-style quarterback showed up at the Crisler Center decked out in Maize and Blue with a Michigan jacket to watch an eventual 103-91 win. He was the most sought-after person in the city that night, and fans made sure he knew that.

“They started chanting, ‘We Want C.J.,’” Stroud’s mother Kim told cleveland.com. “It was really out of nowhere.”

To be fair, that 2019-20 Michigan basketball roster did have a former manager who walked onto the team by the name of C.J. Baird -- who the crowd could’ve been chanting for. People love seeing walk-ons get opportunities to play. It may have started as a chant for Baird, but the student section also made sure to acknowledge Stroud.

“The student section had a sign that said ‘We Want C.J.’ and they started chanting it throughout the whole stadium, and then they turned it to C.J.,” Kim said. “We didn’t know who they were talking about. I asked one of the coaches near me, ‘Did you guys have them do that?’ And they’re like, ‘No, we didn’t.’ But it was a neat experience.”

Michigan’s chances of landing Stroud were already small. Any momentum that could’ve been generated was quickly wiped away the moment his mother stepped foot in Columbus. She saw the similarities between Columbus and Los Angeles, and they both liked the city feel as opposed to a more college town area.

“I could just see the sparkle in his eye,” Kim said. “He just felt at home there.”

So no. There is no scenario where Stroud is playing in Saturday’s game as a Wolverine. It just provided an photo of Ohio State’s quarterback wearing Michigan colors without someone having to photoshop it on the internet.

The same person Michigan fans cheered for him during a Friday night basketball game will be the same ones booing him during Saturday afternoon football.

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Source : https://www.cleveland.com/buckeye-talk-podcast/2021/11/could-ohio-state-footballs-cj-stroud-have-been-michigans-starting-qb-this-weekend.html

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