What impact did the spring transfer portal window have on Ohio State football?

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The transfer portal is officially closed and the Ohio State Buckeyes have had a relatively quiet window this time around.

After losing 19 players over the winter, Ohio State lost just six this spring, running back Dallan Hayden, safeties Ja'Had Carter and Cedrick Hawkins, offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi, wide receiver Kyion Grayes and linebacker Nigel Hayes.

We talked about Hayden and Hawkins in our April mailbag, but Carter, Vimahi, Grayes and Hayes were late additions to the portal, and the final three arrived on the final day of the portal window, so here are a few thoughts on the departures and one more a few other topics after spring.

Changes to graduate transfers could impact Will Howard: The portal is easy for graduate transfers as they can come and go as they please and this does not necessarily have to be during transfer windows. I was asked in our mailbox what Howard might do if he lost the quarterback battle to Devin Brown. The rule back then was that Howard could transfer whenever he wanted and still play that season, but that is no longer the case.

The Pulse newsletter

Free, daily sports updates straight to your inbox. Log in

Free, daily sports updates straight to your inbox. Log in

BuyBuy the Pulse newsletter

If Howard had planned to transfer and play this season, he would have had to do so by April 30 like everyone else. He did not enter the portal and with one year left, he will finish his college career at Ohio State.

I still expect Howard to be the starter, but I thought it was important to clarify this since this changed just a few days after I received the question in the mailbag.

Effects on the eliminated transfers: Ohio State didn't lose much in this window. The biggest loss was Hayden, but nothing of the latter portal entries was all that surprising.

Vimahi was a mainstay of the second team and never pushed for starting playing time. Hayes came out of Northwestern last summer and was buried on the depth chart, and Grayes, a former four-star prospect and top-100 receiver, found himself on the depth chart and couldn't make many moves this spring.

Ohio State now has about 80 scholarship players, which is a good thing because it now allows for new players to be added across the board. Vimahi is a big player because he creates some space on the line and gives Justin Frye a chance to address the team's biggest weakness with a new addition or two. None of the transfers played more than 100 snaps last season, with Vimahi having the most with 99 snaps.

go deeper


Will O-Line cost the Buckeyes a title? Are QBs heading to the portal? Ohio State mailbag

Every team loses players in the transfer portal, but Ohio State has done well to maintain its depth in this window.

Former UCLA offensive lineman Bruno Fina has ties to Ohio State University assistant coaches Chip Kelly and Justin Frye. (Stan Szeto/USA Today)

A name that makes sense for Ohio State: There is a name on the portal that I like: UCLA offensive lineman Bruno Fina.

According to the LA Times, he was UCLA's left tackle last season and played right guard in the spring. In an ideal world, Fina would give the Buckeyes some needed versatility with Josh Fryar, and Frye could leave them fighting over who should play guard and tackle in the summer.

Fina was a three-star recruit and his main recruiter was Frye in 2020. His previous coach was also Chip Kelly. I'm not saying Ohio State has reached out, and that's a sure thing; I'll just mention a name that I found interesting. I expect Ohio State to become active in the portal soon.

Ohio State maintains depth through open portal window: The Buckeyes talked all spring about how important their strength would be this season, especially given the expanded College Football Playoff.

While some teams have lost key depth in the portal, Ohio State has done a good job retaining every key part of its roster outside of Hayden. This may seem like a small thing, but I would argue that it is the Buckeyes' biggest accomplishment this offseason.

They kept all five quarterbacks on the roster and the defensive line is still loaded with talent, as are the receivers and cornerbacks.

We can now officially say that Ohio State is in good shape and know that nothing will change between now and the start of the season, barring a few injuries. However, because Ohio State hasn't lost many players to the portal, it is well-positioned to deal with the injuries that occur in the offseason and during the regular season.

The transfer windows can be a stressful time for coaches who don't know what will happen to their squad in the coming weeks. However, Ohio State does a good job of being upfront with its players about where they are on the depth chart and in their development. That pays off.

In a worst-case scenario, Ohio State is likely to be one of the top three teams in the preseason.

go deeper


Ohio State depth chart projection: Who emerged as the starter this spring?

A look at Ohio State's draft prospects for next year: There were a few key notes from this year's draft class.

Marvin Harrison Jr. became the fourth Ohio State receiver drafted in the first round in the last three years, and Emeka Egbuka should make it four years in a row next year.

However, only four Ohio State players were drafted. Harrison went No. 4 to the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Hall Jr. was a second-round pick, Cade Stover went in the third round and Tommy Eichenberg was selected on the third day. All of these players expected to be drafted, but it was still Ohio State's lowest number of players drafted since selecting three players in 2013.

One reason for the low number is the return of Ohio State's outstanding junior class. There's a real chance that Ohio State will have around ten players drafted next year, with Denzel Burke and JT Tuimoloau leading that group.

The athleteThe Dane Brugler had selected Burke and Tuimilaou as first-round picks in his early 2025 mock draft.

go deeper


NFL mock draft early 2025: Who is QB1? Additionally, two prospects from Michigan crack the top five

Regardless of where they stand heading into the season, the return of several prospects mixed with a strong group of sophomores who have taken a big step means the Buckeyes will top draft boards with a good season next season could bring light.

It's still very early, but it's hard to imagine Ohio State not drafting at least eight players with Egbuka, Donovan Jackson, Seth McLaughlin, TreVeyon Henderson, Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Burke and Tyleik Williams suspended.

(Top photo by Will Howard: Adam Cairns / USA Today)

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *