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Ohio State's C.J. Stroud Says Fan Environment At UCLA, USC Contribute To Recruits Leaving California

Stroud and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young are two Californians who found success away from home.

Two of the four finalists for this year’s Heisman Trophy are from the state of California, but oddly, neither of them play for UCLA or USC.

Instead, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud both opted to leave home in 2020, a decision that was made easy by the lack of support from fans on the West Coast.

“I think that does play a big part in it because you go to these USC and UCLA games and, quite honestly, it's just kind of boring,” Stroud said during his Rose Bowl media availability on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not a lot of people. Fans aren’t really in tune. They’re just kind of there on vacation or what not.

“You go to the other schools out of state and their fans are kind of like fanatics. They don’t really care what people think about them, they’re wearing all type of stuff, they’re yelling at the top of their lungs ... It does play a big part of leaving home because you want that type of support.”

Alabama was third in the country in home attendance this fall with 98,720 fans per game, while Ohio State was fifth with 96,756. And while those figures are few thousand below capacity, both programs averaged well over 100,000 fans before the pandemic.

UCLA, on the other hand, averaged just 45,818 fans this season – less than 50 percent capacity of the Rose Bowl – despite going 8-4, while USC averaged 56,215 fans amid a 4-8 season, roughly 22,000 less than capacity at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

Ohio State Quarterback C.J. Stroud Excited For California Homecoming In Rose Bowl

That said, the Bruins just signed 2022 Inglewood four-star quarterback Justyn Martin, while the Trojans hold a commitment from 2023 Los Alamitos five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, who followed head coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma.

But unless they solve their attendance woes, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the likes of Downey Warren five-star Nicholaus Iamaleava, Pittsburg four-star Jaden Rashada, Bellflower St. John Bosco four-star Pierce Clarkson and others follow Stroud and Young’s lead instead of staying home, too.


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