"While potential replacements exist for those scholarships -- both in the high school ranks in the form of Markell Johnson and at the collegiate level in New Mexico graduate transfer Cullen Neal -- it's worth noting that while this level of attrition in one season is unprecedented, Thad Matta has seen players leave via transfer before."
- Blake Williams, BuckeyeSports.com
With the recent departures of Ohio State's Daniel Giddens and Mickey Mitchell, there are plenty of questions about what exactly is happening in Columbus and with Thad Matta's team. Of course, players transferring isn't something new to Ohio State and Matta, as there have been several notable players that have finished out their careers elsewhere on the collegiate level. In 2008, Eric Wallace played in 15 games as a freshman before eventually transferring to DePaul and later Seattle. Anthony "Noopy" Crater in 2009 transferred from the program to South Florida and in 2010, Walter Offutt exited Columbus and headed to Athens to play for the Ohio Bobcats (helping them to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012).
Perhaps the player that had the most success after transferring was Jordan Sibert in 2012 who, despite playing in 49 games in his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, opted to head to Dayton. Sibert would go on to lead a Flyers team that would make an Elite Eight appearance while also knocking Ohio State out in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2014. J.D. Weatherspoon also transferred in 2012, ending upOhio State basketball has survived losing transfers before at Toledo. Weatherspoon finished with a solid two seasons with the Rockets. Austin Grandstaff was the most recent transfer before Giddens and Mitchell. Grandstaff landed in Oklahoma this season despite playing in the first 10 games for Ohio State.
"If Barrett picks up where he left off against Michigan and Notre Dame at the end of last season, his production is going to be impossible to ignore. And if takes that next step with his arm, bringing along a talented but inexperienced group of receivers to expand the passing attack, Ohio State's offense as a whole will be hard to stop when it can balance out its powerful rushing game."
- Austin Ward, ESPN
ESPN's Austin Ward and Josh Moyer looked at who might be the best offensive player in the Big Ten conference for the upcoming 2016 season. Ward's nomination was Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who after splitting time with Cardale Jones for much of the 2015 season, is the lone starter at quarterback heading into the new year. Barrett was also coming off an injury that sidelined him for the final three games of Ohio State's national championship run, but is now healthy and ready to lead the Buckeyes. Barrett's dual-threat capabilities and awareness in-game is what separates him from a lot of other quarterbacks and if he has a good season, he could very well end up with a handful of awards at the end of the season. With all of the starter reps, his health, and confidence, there's no telling what Barrett might accomplish with a full season.
Though he struggled some outside of the red zone last season, Barrett's play wasn't to blame alone. And he's proved many times that he has legitimate star power, stepping in to replace an injured Braxton Miller and finishing in the top five of the Heisman Trophy voting as a freshman. Josh Moyer of ESPN elected to nominate Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, and while giving a nod to Barrett's excellence, made it clear that Barkley has an impressive resume of his own. Barkley broke the Penn State single-season record for freshman rushing yards in a season with an offensive line that rated among the bottom in the nation.
"This season, as it turned out, had to be about getting sophomores like Keita Bates-Diop, Jea'Sean Tate and Kam Williams to prepare to be great. Ohio State's top six next season, the five returning starters in Tate, Bates-Diop, Marc Loving, Trevor Thompson and freshman point guard JaQuan Lyle and sixth-man Williams, isn't changing."
- Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
Transferring news is all the rage right now, but it comes at the expense of Thad Matta's team as Ohio State has lost three of its players that were a part of a recruiting class that was at one time ranked in the top five nationally. Austin Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens, and Mickey Mitchell have all opted to head elsewhere for their playing days. Grandstaff's departure came a while back, and he ended up in Oklahoma, citing a lack of playing time with Ohio State. But with Giddens and Mitchell headed out the door, the Buckeyes may look to lean heavily on its remaining core. That includes the players mentioned above with Keita Bates-Diop, Jae'Sean Tate, and Kam Williams. The Buckeyes also return Marc Loving, JaQuan Lyle and could return Trevor Thompson (despite testing the waters of the NBA draft).
While Matta has hammered home the aspect of the future of the team being dependent on developing the players in the offseason, a good chunk of that future has now decided to leave the program. Of course, Matta also has new players coming in and could even try going for some transfers of his own to bring some more talent to Columbus. Whatever the plan is for Matta, the remaining core of players will be crucial to next season's success.
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