C.J. Stroud figuratively took off running in his first season as Ohio State's starting quarterback.
Finishing as a Heisman Trophy finalist, Stroud accumulated 4,435 passing yards and 44 touchdowns through the air. Yet if there's any criticism to make of his stellar campaign, he never looked to make any plays with his legs.
Stroud, who ran for a 48-yard touchdown in his only rushing attempt as a freshman, tallied minus-20 rushing yards last season.
That could change this year. Per Cleveland.com's Stephen Means, Stroud gushed about entering the 2022 season faster and stronger.
"I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life," Stroud said. "I (hit my personal record) in squat. I PR’d in bench. In my running, I forgot the mileage I hit, but I PR’d in that. I’m the fastest I’ve been since I’ve been alive."
Stroud credited strength coach Mickey Marotti for guiding his physical transformation.
"Before I met Coach Mick, I’d never touched a weight before," Stroud said. "Now I’m like 220 (pounds) and can lift a lot more than I used to. I’m decently strong, not crazy strong."
Quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis backed up Stroud's claims.
"He’s moving great. He’s healthy. He’s strong. He’s fast. He’s definitely running around out there (more), and he looks good," Dennis said.
Stroud improving is a scary thought for the opposition. Already a premier pocket passer, he could make another legitimate Heisman run while steering the Buckeyes into championship contention.
The college football world last saw Stroud eviscerate Utah for 573 passing yards and six touchdowns in a 48-45 Rose Bowl win. Perhaps he'll test his enhanced speed when Ohio State hosts Notre Dame to open the season on Sept. 3.