Just five days after entering the NCAA transfer portal, former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams announced last week that he was heading to Alabama next season. His decision to transfer wasn’t all that surprising, but it remains to be seen how this move will affect the Buckeyes’ offense next season.
For Williams, the decision to leave OSU was likely the right one. In two seasons with OSU, Williams had a total of 266 receiving yards for three touchdowns, but even as a starter last season, he didn’t see many targets. In 2020, he accounted for only nine receptions in total.
He was also expected to drop down the depth chart this fall after some shuffling of the receiver positions this spring. With Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba as likely starters, OSU is stacked at receiver. Factor in two freshman receivers — Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. — who both looked strong in spring practice, and Williams’ role with the team was surrounded with uncertainty.
So it wasn’t so much his decision to transfer as it was the team that he chose to transfer to that gave Buckeye fans a bit of pause. After all, Williams was on the field for the Buckeyes in their national title game against Alabama mere months ago.
Though this move might not shake things up too much for Ohio State during the regular season, it could get interesting if the team eventually matches up with Alabama in the playoffs again this season. Williams could be primed to show the Buckeyes what they were missing, while the Scarlet and Gray have a lot to prove in a rematch after losing by 30 points in January’s title game.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Williams’ decision to transfer to a championship-caliber program whose wide receivers have historically fared well in the NFL Draft. With the NCAA now allowing for one transfer without requiring players to sit out for a season, Williams stands a good chance of earning the starting spot at Bama. In the last two years, the Crimson Tide has seen four wide receivers taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. And if the team performs at the same level that they have in recent years, they will likely be championship contenders again this season, which would give him far more exposure than he would get as a second (or third) teamer for the Buckeyes.
Undoubtedly, Williams will still have to earn his starting spot at Bama, but he said last week that head coach Nick Saban made it clear that his skills would be valuable to the team, and strategically, this transfer seems like a great move for him. It’s also likely that we’ll see more players taking this route and transferring between elite programs under the new rules.
But while it might be the right decision for Williams personally — and likely won’t have major ramifications for the Buckeyes’ offense — for many fans, it will still feel like a blow to see him in a Crimson jersey next season.