With Kyle McCord’s transfer to Syracuse, the Buckeyes shifted their focus to Devin Brown; Not only as the starter for the Cotton Bowl, but for potentially the 2024 season if all went well. Instead, Brown’s unfortunate injury caused him to miss most of the game, and though the jury cannot be totally out on him after just a two-series performance, this team’s directive of needing to add a legitimate signal caller has been upped.
It’s not the fault of Brown or Lincoln Kienholz for the Cotton Bowl loss, but with the game now in the rear view, this program must bring in a guy who has experience. You can’t gamble the 2024 season on hope, and if that offends a current roster player or causes them to leave then so be it. It’s a new era of college football, and with the way the team played this year, that position cannot be up in the air once again.
The rumors have been swirling for days now, but the smoke of Kansas State transfer Will Howard is almost catching fire at this point. Multiple outlets are going as far to say that Howard to the Buckeyes is basically a done deal, and if that is the case, Ohio State will have raised the level of play in the current room.
Not the elite Justin Field-type of transfer one dreams for — there aren’t exactly many of those — if the Buckeyes are in fact able to land Howard, it does give them a veteran presence in the room that has plenty of experience playing in big time contests as a starter. With Brown, Kienholz, and eventually Air Noland also around, Ohio State would have a competition for the starting job that not only would be solid, but would take the next step in terms of confidence that the team has a real dude behind center.
Buckeyes get a major player to return for 2024
Ohio State has numerous areas to address if it wants to get back to competing for a national championship next season. The past month or so for the Buckeyes hasn’t been real positive with the fans when it comes the on-field product and staffing situations, but even when this program seems like it’s “down”, the end result is still an 11-2 season, which is a pretty high floor all things considered.
However, it’s obviously not good enough and needs to be addressed. The expectations at Ohio State are as high as they can be, and this program has to meet them in order to stick around. The standard is the standard for a reason, and Day and his crew need to get it done.
That said, knowing they need some good vibes and soon, on Wednesday Ohio State got some great news for the 2024 team when current Buckeye Tyleik Williams announced his plans to return to the Buckeyes for his senior season.
One of the key contributors this past 2023 season, Williams exploded onto the scene after a quiet first two years in the program. As a junior, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound lineman clearly figured it out, as his snap count and production were among the best in the country for defensive tackles. Taking into consideration how much he improved in just one season, the hopes for him as a senior are even higher now, and getting him back for another go will be huge for this defense overall.
From his play personally to his help in developing the younger guys, it can’t be understated how much of a win this is for the Buckeyes. While it’s not perfect, the defense took major strides in year two under Knowles, and you’d have to think if multiple other guys choose to come back to Ohio State, it only further helps their chances of being even better in 2024.
Williams is locked in, and as the staff awaits the decisions of several other key players on their own roster, this announcement could impact the thinking of his teammates who will soon also share their plans.
Ohio State set to host transfer portal offensive line target
If you watched the Cotton Bowl at all, it didn’t take more than a series to realize Ohio State’s offensive line needs some serious help and improvement before 2024. Whether you think there needs to be a change of position coach or better players or even a combination of both, we can all agree that the line needs to get a ton better, and the portal is where that solution has to exist.
It might not be the perfect fix, but Ohio State has to give their best effort at bringing in not just one, but multiple guys to sure up the unit. Likely to take some time, Ohio State is at least already getting to work, as on Wednesday it became public that the Buckeyes hosted portal target, Derrick Graham.
A 6-foot-4, 315 pound lineman, Graham is transferring from Troy, where he started every game this season at tackle. Hard to say if he would stay at the tackle position, at the very least Graham is a proven starter already who would raise the level of competition for one, but could also potentially be a guy that could slide into a guard spot.
Again, Derrick cannot be the only guy the Buckeyes seriously look at and host for a visit, but this is a start. Some serious questions will need to be answered by Day regarding the position, and the quickest way to solve the issues are to address the players on the roster. Look for the staff to increase the efforts mightily in the coming days and weeks when it comes to this position group, as they too saw that this group did not perform anywhere near what is the expectation the last time they were on the field.
Ohio State is hosting Troy tr ansfer offensive lineman Derrick Graham on campus today, a source tells @On3sports.— Pete Nakos (@PeteNakos_) January 3, 2024
The 6-foot-4, 314-pound lineman has two years of eligibility remaining. https://t.co/xcEMW0xUwy pic.twitter.com/ZMPfdtGqkY
- No surprise at all, but Buckeye receiver signee Jeremiah Smith is already putting on a show at the All-American Bowl practices. While he’s been in the headlines for several topics such as his signing day decision down the stretch, the main newsworthy aspect worth discussing is his play on the field.
Turning heads in one-on-ones and in drill work, Smith, who was already thought to be ready for the next level, is once again showing why he was the nation’s best player in the 2024 class. Named the MVP for Day 2, Smith has showed no signs of slowing down the rest of this week.
It’s easy to see why so many believe Smith will come in and compete to start as a true freshman for the Buckeyes.