Ohio State has had a string of recent success on the recruiting trail since the start of 2024.
This past weekend, the Buckeyes landed one of the nation’s top cornerbacks in five-star 2025 prospect Devin Sanchez, and then on Monday Ohio State earned Crystal Ball predictions for both 2025 defensive end Zahir Mathis (No. 5 EDGE, No. 37 nationally) and 2026 quarterback Jared Curtis (No. 2 QB, No. 20 nationally).
The positive recruiting news has not just come on the traditional trail, as the Buckeyes have seemingly ramped up efforts in the transfer portal as well.
On Thursday, the Buckeyes added Kansas State transfer quarterback Will Howard. A player with lots of experience and a dual-threat ability, Howard will add an interesting dynamic to Ryan Day’s offense as the presumed starter in 2024. On Saturday, Ohio State landed Alabama transfer center Seth McLaughlin, the No. 1 IOL and No. 5 offensive lineman overall in the portal per 247Sports, who will start at either center or guard next season.
Then, on Monday night, when famously nothing else was happening around the college football landscape, Ohio State struck gold. That latest BOOOOOM was former Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins announcing he would be taking his talents to Columbus.
Isaiah 40:31: "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint." pic.twitter.com/J89kRzsmBQ— Quinshon Judkins (@qaj4_) January 9, 2024
Judkins has been one of the best running backs in the country since he began his career at Ole Miss in 2022. The Alabama native rushed for 1,567 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman, and followed it up with 1,158 yards and 15 TDs this season as a sophomore. He has also showcased an ability to catch passes out of the backfield, hauling in 37 receptions for 281 yards and three scores in his two years with the Rebels. Finishing first in the SEC in rushing touchdowns in 2023, Judkins also ranked first in the conference in missed tackles (78) runs of 10-plus yards (22) among RBs with at least 100 carries.
Ohio State is getting a true star in Judkins, but this move doesn’t necessarily rule out TreVeyon Henderson returning to Columbus next season.
With the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams, that means at least one or two more games will be played in the quest to win a national title. For guys like Henderson and Judkins, who are proven commodities and definite NFL guys already, splitting carries in an extended season and keeping some tread off the tires for the next level could do both players some good — if, in fact, Henderson decides to run it back with the Buckeyes.
On top of all the counting stats and highlight plays, the tailback has also never missed a game in his collegiate career, playing in all 13 contests for Ole Miss in each of his two seasons on campus. With how banged up Henderson has been during that same timeframe, having a guy like Judkins there to take some of the load off his shoulders will be beneficial for both the team and their playing careers. If Henderson is not in the mix, then Judkins can certainly be a guy that you can rely on week in and week out to take 20-plus carries.
Judkins is Ohio State’s biggest addition in the transfer portal since Justin Fields. The 5-foot-11, 240-pound ball-carrier was the No. 1 RB and the No. 4 player overall in the portal, per 247Sports. Whether he is part of college football’s best backfield tandem in 2024 alongside Henderson or the Buckeyes’ lead back, the two-time All-SEC stud becomes the third player from Ole Miss to transfer to Ohio State in the last two years, joining corner Davison Igbinosun and defensive tackle Tywone Malone.
There are still lots of moves to be made for Day and his crew, both in terms of roster management and among the coaching staff, but the addition of Judkins cannot be understated for Ohio State. To get a better feel for the Buckeyes’ newest star, check out Judkins’ highlight reel from 2023 season at Ole Miss: