Joel Klatt is a fan of CJ Stroud.

The former Ohio State quarterback and 2-year starter is off to the NFL, hoping to hear his name called early in the 2023 NFL Draft next month. ESPN’s Todd McShay currently has Stroud mocked to the Houston Texans with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

Stroud wowed at the NFL Scouting Combine with his arm. He’s a prospect with all the tools, but it’s the mental side that had Klatt signing his praises on the latest edition ofย The Joel Klatt Show.

“I know that it’s pressure-packed at other places around the country. I don’t know if there is a more intense position โ€” singularly โ€” in college football than the Ohio State quarterback (job),” Klatt said. “You name the program and I don’t think they get the scrutiny the Ohio State quarterback gets. That fanbase is ruthless, and you know it, Buckeye fans. I know you. I see you. I’m around you all the time. I do all the games, all the important Ohio State games, all the important Michigan games. The Ohio State fanbase is really hard on their team.

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“And therefore, if you’re in the most prominent position, i.e. the head coach or the quarterback, I think it can be categorized fairly as one of if not the most pressure-packed player positions in all of college football.”

And Klatt thinks Stroud handled all that comes with being the quarterback at The Ohio State University quite well.

“Justin Fields leaves, he comes in, and I go into spring practice and I see him in some of his first spring practices as the ‘starter,’ Klatt said. “And he wasn’t throwing it that great. Coach Day was just like, ‘Listen, he’s got a lot to work on. He’s gotta develop.'”

Then Klatt came back in the fall to call Stroud’s first game โ€” the 2021 opener against Minnesota. The one where Stroud looked shakey in the opening half, but Day chose to let Stroud work through his first-start jitters and built some confidence in his young quarterback.

“Ryan Day put the ball in CJ Stroud’s hands and he answered the bell,” Klatt said. “That game, more than a lot of the other games, showed me a ton about this kid. He has some serious guts.”

And then all he did was throw for north of 8,000 yards, 85 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions.

“I have a lot of respect for CJ Stroud,” Klatt said. “A lot of respect.”