Former Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord told ESPN he is committed to Syracuse, citing the talent pool new coach Fran Brown is amassing there.
McCord was one of the best quarterbacks available in the transfer portal, leaving Ohio State after going 11-1 as a starter this season and 12-1 during his three-year career there. He finished the season with 24 touchdown passes and six interceptions while completing 65.8% of his passes.
He becomes eligible immediately and will have one year of eligibility remaining. His signing is a coup for Syracuse, giving the Orange a starting pivot for Brown to build around in his first season.
McCord is the highest-ranked player — No. 31 in the 2021 class rankings — to commit to Syracuse since ESPN began recording recruiting rankings in 2006.
McCord has deep ties to the Syracuse staff, having grown up in New Jersey and knowing both Brown and quarterbacks coach Nunzio Campanelli for a decade. He also has deep ties to Jeff Nixon, the expected offensive coordinator hire who finishes the season as the New York Giants’ running backs coach.
“I think the experience of the coaching staff is very important,” McCord told ESPN. “It was a big factor in my decision. Just being in a place where I can be surrounded by good players. They’ve done some good things on the gateway path, bringing in some players from Georgia and elsewhere. All of that, when you put it together, makes it an attractive destination.”
His faith is rooted in Brown. McCord praised Syracuse’s early work in the transfer portal to upgrade its talent.
“What Coach Fran has been able to do in the last few weeks since he became head coach has made a lot of sense,” McCord said. “I think the pieces are all coming together at the right time.”
McCord aims to prepare himself for the NFL. He acknowledged having only one year of eligibility, which kept him focused during his portal process on where he could succeed.
“I have another opportunity to go out and really commit, and during this process, I’ve been looking for schools that I’ll have a chance to win right away,” he said. “As the pieces get there, I will definitely have that option.”
He said Nixon’s extensive history in the NFL — more than a decade in various places around the league — and as a linebacker for Baylor under Matt Rhule was attractive to him.
“Be diverse [on offense] “And the ability to throw the ball down the field and score points,” McCord said of Nixon. “He did it everywhere he went.”
McCord’s inclusion in the portal was one of the biggest surprises of the college football season after he went 11-1 last year as a starter, with the only loss coming to Michigan in the final week.
He said he appreciates the time and experience he gained with the Buckeyes.
“I think the most important thing is to start a full season there,” McCord said of Ohio State. “I’ve learned a lot and played a lot of football and played a lot of big games. This experience is valuable experience. Being able to take it to Syracuse is going to be a huge tool for me. Having that in my pocket and knowing what I need to work on now, that’s huge.”
McCord also has familiarity with the roster at Syracuse. He told ESPN that he knows both defensive lineman Dennis Jaquez Jr. and defensive back Alijah Clarke, Syracuse players who hail from New Jersey. He also said he knew a number of gateway recruits who were visiting him during the weekend of his official visit to Syracuse.
“I was surrounded by a group of guys that I played soccer with growing up,” McCord said. “Being around coaches I’ve known for a long time. I felt like everything was happening at the right time.”
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