Ohio State football created plenty of noise this offseason. The Buckeyes made a lot of additions in the transfer portal, with the most notable addition perhaps being former Alabama safety Caleb Downs. They also made major headlines recently by adding former Oregon and UCLA head coach Chip Kelly as their offensive coordinator. The also were able to hold on to stars like Emeka Egbuka and TreVeyon Henderson, which will be big considering the number of stars who will leave Ohio State for the NFL and left in the transfer portal.

But one player the Buckeyes brought in via the transfer portal, in particular, stands out as the player with the most to prove in the 2024 season. That would be former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard.

Will Howard, Quarterback

Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) celebrates a touchdown
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback play has not been a major issue at Ohio State over the past decade. They've had players like Cardale Jones, JT Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields and CJ Stroud come in and lead multiple Ohio State football teams to the College Football Playoff. They have a high standard at that program. It might have been too high for Kyle McCord to live up to.

McCord did not have a bad season by any means. McCord completed 65.8% of his passes and averaged 9.1 yards per attempt. He ended the 2023 season with 3,170 yards and 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Anybody would take those numbers, right?

Well, McCord did not play his best against the best competition. Against Notre Dame, McCord completed only 56.8% of his passes and averaged fewer than 6.5 yards per attempt. He did lead a game-winning drive in that game, but was largely unspectacular in that game. McCord wasn't all that great against the Michigan Wolverines in Ohio State's regular season finale either. He completed just 18 of 30 passes for 271 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in that game which ended Ohio State's playoff hopes.

Basically, McCord failed to step up when Ohio State needed him the most. That's what Will Howard is going to have to do when he suits up for the Buckeyes in the 2024 season. He not only has to show up in the biggest games, but he has to will the team forward. Luckily, he has experience doing just that. He has played in a Big 12 championship game over his time at Kansas State and did enough to help his team win that game. Going 18-32 for 199 yards is not the best passing performance, but he did throw for two touchdowns and add another on the ground.

Howard also almost knocked off the eventual playoff-bound Texas Longhorns in the 2023 seasons with an outstanding performance. He completed 26 of 41 passes for 327 yards and tossed four touchdowns, though he also did throw an interception. Howard also threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns against the Missouri Tigers, who ended the year as a Top 10 team.

Ohio State football is going to have their way against the majority of the Big Ten and everyone they go up against. Kyle McCord's numbers throughout the year were very solid. But they're going to need stellar and special moments against the top teams in the country with minimal to no mistakes. McCord could not consistently do that. Will Howard has been able to do so throughout his career at Kansas State.

With the Michigan Wolverines in a state of transition after Jim Harbaugh left his post in Ann Arbor to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, there is an opening for Ohio State to take over the Big Ten again. They'll need stellar play from Will Howard in order to do so.