The transfer portal has drastically changed college sports over the last half-decade. Now instead of college athletes being forced to sit out a year after deciding a change of scenery is best for them, they are able to move once without fear of being on the sidelines for a season. Not only are the transfer rules now fair, they also do add some intrigue to college sports. College basketball is especially spicy now because one transfer could end up being the difference between a team missing or making the NCAA Tournament.
In both men’s and women’s basketball this year there were a couple of notable players that transferred from Ohio State over the past few years. Last night Jaedon LeDee was on the court for San Diego State as the Aztecs battled UConn for the national title. LeDee originally started his career at Ohio State before transferring to TCU, and eventually to San Diego State. On the women’s side, Ohio State transfer Dorka Juhasz transferred to UConn, but the Buckeyes got the last laugh when they sent the Huskies home by beating Geno Auriemma’s team home in the Sweet Sixteen.
While the Buckeyes are also active in the transfer portal in football, it seems like there are more notable transfers coming into the program than leaving. Not to say that there aren’t game-changers that haven’t left Columbus. Two recent transfers out of the program have won a title with their new team, with one of those transfers also winning a Heisman Trophy.
What we want to know today is what player to transfer from Ohio State was someone that you were still rooting for after they left the program. Your answer doesn’t have to be football, it could basketball or any other sports. Some players become fan favorites even though they didn’t get much time to play in Columbus before making the best decision for their future and moving somewhere else.
Today’s question: What player did you find yourself rooting for even after they transferred from Ohio State?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Jameson Williams
I know some people are going to read this as I was rooting for Alabama, which certainly wasn’t the case. Williams was electric on the field, we just didn’t get to see much of him out there in the scarlet and gray since the Buckeyes were absolutely loaded at wide receiver. Some people said that Ohio State failed Williams because they didn’t give him much of a shot at wide receiver, but it was almost impossible to find snaps for him when guys like Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, K.J. Hill, and others were ahead of him on the depth chart during his first two years in college.
Williams made a tough choice that was going to benefit him in the long run. The speedy wide receiver saw that Alabama was losing a number of talented receivers, so he bet that he could be the man on a team that had just beaten his former team in the national title game. Had Williams stayed in Columbus, he would have likely been third or fourth on the depth chart, and who knows how the rest of his college career would have played out. Some were mad that Williams didn’t stay and fight for his spot amongst the wide receivers, but sometimes you have to work smarter and not harder.
The transfer paid off since Williams was named first-team All-SEC and an All-American after catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. Even though Williams tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff Championship Game against Georgia, the wide receiver was still taken with the 12th overall pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2022 NFL Draft, just after Wilson and Olave. Williams did get onto the field late in the season for the Lions during his rookie year, but expectations will be even higher for Williams in 2023 as Detroit is thought of as one of the emerging teams in the league. Hopefully, Williams helps the Lions to get over the hump and find some success after years of futility.
Matt’s answer: D.J. Carton
Obviously, the easiest answer is Joe Burrow. Not only is he just a uniquely likable guy, but I have gotten a lot of pleasure claiming “Buckeye Joe” as an Ohio State product on Twitter, much to the dismay of LSU and SEC fans. However, because that is the easiest and most obvious answer, I’m going to go a different route here. I’m going with former Ohio State men’s basketball player D.J. Carton.
Carton came to Chris Holtmann’s squad as the No. 32 player in the country during the 2019 recruiting cycle and seemed to be the beginning of a new era of Buckeye basketball greatness. However, things didn’t really work out that way due to issues mostly off of the floor.
While Carton averaged 10.4 points and 3.0 assists in his 20 games in Scarlet and Gray — shooting 40% from three-point range — during his freshman year, he stepped away from the team at the end of January 2020 to focus on his mental health. And while he returned to classes at Ohio State in late February, he never made it back on the court, perhaps partially because of the pandemic that ended the season a few weeks later.
In the three years since Carton’s decision, we have seen a lot of other players in sports put their mental health first and step away from their teams — including OSU offensive lineman Harry Miller — but it still felt new and surprising when Carton did it. Ultimately, he chose to transfer to Marquette to continue his college basketball career.
I was really hoping that Carton would succeed for the Golden Eagles and he had a fairly decent sophomore season, averaging 13.0 points and 3.4 assists. But from there, he opted to declare for the NBA Draft, where he went unselected. The guard is now in his second season in the NBA G-League currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves affiliate the Iowa Wolves. He is putting up 16.2 points, 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game this year.
While I’m not sure that there is nearly as much to look back on fondly as there is for the Juice Man or Buckeye Joe, I always find myself hoping for good things to come Carton’s way.