COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is fed up. And it’s not about criticism leveled at him.

The now two-time Heisman finalist gave a passionate response when NBC4 sports reporter Justin Holbrock asked him about playing without star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson in the College Football Playoff.

For context, Smith-Njigba announced last week he wouldn’t be able to play as he continues to deal with a lingering hamstring injury that kept him out for virtually the whole season. Meanwhile, Henderson announced on Tuesday he would also miss the CFP as he nurses a left foot injury.

It’s not uncommon for the best players on a team to opt out of a bowl game to prepare for the NFL and avoid potential injury. But those opt outs rarely occur when a team is in the College Football Playoff.

Despite that, there have been reports saying Smith-Njigba is healthy enough to play but is sitting out to protect his draft status. ESPN is projecting him as a first-round pick. Those reports had Stroud admittedly angry when asked about playing for his teammates who weren’t available.

“I know that people were talking about he should play. Y’all have no idea the stuff he’s been through. No clue. Who are people to talk about my brother like that?” Stroud said. “It kind of gets me a little angry that people try to make it seem like he’s not a team player and he doesn’t care about his teammates. That’s the total opposite wrong. “I’m on the phone with him everyday. ‘How’s practice bro? I’m watching film. I’m doing this.’ Helping out the young receivers. He helped out [Marvin Harrison Jr.] so much this year, he helped out [Emeka Egbuka] those dudes that had to step up Same with Trey so it’s just unfair for people to try to ridicule Jaxon or Trey or anybody who’s out with injury cause that’s the worst part of this game . . . I just want to go out there and do it for them.”

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State quarterback

Stroud and the members of the Buckeyes spoke to the media for the first time since learning they would play No. 1 Georgia in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 for a spot in the national championship game.