Texans name rookie C.J. Stroud their Week 1 starting QB following preseason finale

C.J. Stroud started every preseason game for the Texans this year. Now, the rookie will officially be under center when the real games begin. Immediately following Houston’s preseason finale Sunday, coach DeMeco Ryans announced that Stroud, who was drafted No. 2 overall in April, will be the team’s starting quarterback when the Texans begin their regular season Sept. 10.

Houston entered Sunday’s exhibition, a 17-13 win over the Saints, as the last team without a declared starting QB for Week 1 (aside from the Cardinals, who haven’t named a Week 1 starter but do have an injured Kyler Murray as QB1). Ryans also advertised an open competition with third-year reserve Davis Mills throughout the summer. But Stroud closed training camp taking all of the Texans’ first-team reps at QB, with all signs pointing toward the rookie manning the top job out of the gate.

The 21-year-old Stroud joins the Panthers’ Bryce Young and Colts’ Anthony Richardson as rookie QBs set to start right away. He’s also the fourth different Week 1 starting QB for Houston in four years, following Mills in 2022.

The Ohio State product played two series in Sunday’s preseason finale, finishing 2 of 4 for 16 yards and a touchdown, though at least one of his incompletions — a downfield sideline strike to Nico Collins — was dropped, masking the rookie’s production.

He’ll make his regular-season debut against the Ravens, who will host the Texans’ season opener in Baltimore at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

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