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Ohio State earns Crystal Ball for four-star TE, McCord commits to Syracuse

The Buckeyes’ starting QB from 2023 is talking his talents to the ACC.

Ohio State tight ends coach Keenan Bailey (left) with 2025 TE Nate Roberts (right)
via @nateroberts2025 on Twitter

Transfer portal season has been rather quiet for Ohio State in terms of additions, but with the early signing period beginning this week, it is the last chance for the Buckeyes’ staff to be some final additions to the 2024 class before switching gears entirely towards 2025. That being said, there is still work being done on future classes as well, as Ohio State appears to be the favorite for a top tight end in next year’s cycle.

Roberts gets second Crystal Ball to Ohio State

With Cade Stover having a decision to make in regards to his NFL future and Joe Royer entering the transfer portal, the Buckeyes are running a bit thin at tight end. Outside of those two guys, there are only four scholarship players remaining at a position that head coach Ryan Day likes to have at least one of and many times two on the field at once. With a pair of prospects currently committed in 2024 in Max LeBlanc and Damarion Witten, it will likely need to be another two-man class at tight end in 2025 in order to keep the room fully stocked — barring any transfer portal additions.

Luckily, it appears Ohio State is already in great shape with their top target at the position in the junior class. The highest-rated player the Buckeyes have offered at tight end in 2025, Nate Roberts is listed as the No. 4 TE and No. 102 player overall, per the 247Sports Composite, as well as the No. 2 prospect out of his home state of Oklahoma. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Roberts has now received a pair of Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Ohio State, with the latest coming from OSU insider Bill Kurelic this past week.

Roberts has nearly 40 scholarship offers to his name, including from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and many more. A two-sport athlete who also plays baseball, Roberts played on both sides of the football as a freshman on the varsity team, starring mostly at tight end while taking snaps at defensive end and quarterback as well. In 2022, he hauled in 33 catches for 705 yards and 11 TDs as part of Washington High School’s 15-0 record and Oklahoma 2A State Championship team.

Originally committed to Notre Dame, Roberts was first offered by Ohio State in May, and de-committed from the Irish in August. The in-state Sooners have been trying hard to land him, but the Buckeyes have made a strong push and seem to be the favorites right now in his recruitment. Roberts has been to Columbus on several occasions, and seems to have built a great connection with position coach Keenan Bailey.

“Coach Bailey came out and saw me during spring ball, and that means a lot to me,” Roberts told Eleven Warriors after getting his Ohio State offer. “Just when we first met each other, I felt something between us and felt we could really do something together. I feel like he really wants me to get better and he can really coach me. He showed a lot of interest in me and I have a lot of interest in him.”

With still a long way to go in the 2025 class, anything can still happen. At this current juncture, Bailey and the Buckeyes have to feel good about where this stand with one of the nation’s best tight ends in the next cycle.

Kyle McCord commits to Syracuse

Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord surprised many when he entered his name in the transfer portal on Dec. 4. Now, the junior who started all 12 games for the Buckeyes during the regular season has found a new home in the ACC, officially committing to Syracuse on Sunday.

Reports seem to indicate that McCord wanted a guarantee that he would retain his starting job with the Buckeyes next season, something head coach Ryan Day could not offer him after the way the 2023 campaign ended. With the Orange, McCord will certainly be in line to start with incumbent quarterback Garrett Shrader exhausting eligibility. Syracuse has a very favorable schedule next season under new head coach Fran Brown, avoiding both Clemson and Florida State in the regular season and getting Miami (FL) at home.

McCord joins a list of five former Buckeyes to commit elsewhere out of the 14 total that have entered the transfer portal, including both Evan Pryor and Kye Stokes landing at Cincinnati, Chip Trayanum at Kentucky and Ryan Turner at Boston College.

Quick Hits

  • In yet another recruiting loss for Ohio State against Miami, four-star linebacker Elijah Melendez committed to the Hurricanes on Saturday. The Buckeyes had made the Florida native’s top eight schools list just last week, but it is tough to win any battles for linebacker targets when Ryan Day continues to drag his feet in firing Parker Fleming and has yet to promote James Laurinaitis to a full-time position coach role so that he can hit the trail.
  • Speaking of Miami, current 2026 Hurricanes commit Malachi Toney was on campus this past weekend on a visit. The 5-foot-9 wide receiver has been committed to Miami since this past August, but you can never count Brian Hartline out of any recruitment within his position group if there is a guy he really wants. Toney is not yet rated, but caught 35 passes for 621 yards and eight TDs as a freshman on varsity at American Heritage in Florida.
  • Another 2026 prospect in town this past weekend, Cam Thomas made the roughly two-hour drive West from West Chester, Ohio to Columbus to take in the Buckeyes’ Cotton Bowl practice. Listed as an athlete at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Thomas has around a dozen offers to his name thus far, but has not yet received an Ohio State offer. Thomas attends Lakota West, the same high school as current Buckeyes Malik Hartford and Tegra Tshabola.