Ohio State Football: 3 position groups to watch for the Cotton Bowl

Lincoln Kienholz could leave the Ohio State Football program.
Lincoln Kienholz could leave the Ohio State Football program. /

The transfer portal was quite the place to be on December 4th, as twelve players officially entered it as it opened. Some of the names had already been revealed on social media, such as DL Omari Abor and DB Cameron Martinez, while QB Kyle McCord’s inclusion into the transfer portal was the most newsworthy item of the day for Ohio State football fans.

The transfer portal is still open and will be open until January 2nd, 2024. There are certainly other players from Ohio State who may decide to enter their names into the transfer portal, but the likelihood that the significant number of players Ohio State fans saw on December 4th is low, as college football players are trying to find their new homes before the early signing period begins on December 20th.

Recognizing the realities of the roster upheaval the Ohio State coaching staff is facing, I believe there are three distinct position groups that will be understandably scrutinized when Ohio State faces Missouri in the Cotton Bowl on December 29th. Below are 3 Position Groups to watch for the Cotton Bowl ~

1. Quarterback ~ Quite the gutsy call, right? Ohio State head coach Ryan Day’s announced to the media on December 3rd that the quarterback position would again be a competitive one in 2024, followed by Kyle McCord’s decision to enter the transfer portal on December 4th, made this the obvious first choice for both the fans and media to heavily scrutinize for the Cotton Bowl.

Devin Brown may be given the chance to start against Missouri, but it would not be surprising if Lincoln Keinholz is given ample opportunities to show what he can do with extended playing time against the Tigers.

Incoming recruit Prentiss “Air” Noland is going to arrive on campus in January and will be able to participate in spring practices. The Cotton Bowl is simply a sneak peek for the coaches, media, and fans to get an idea as to how the 2024 quarterback depth chart may be established.

2. Wide Receiver ~ It was not as much of a surprise as Kyle McCord’s announcement, but starting WR Julian Fleming also put his name into the transfer portal. As of this writing, other starting wide receivers such as Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Emeka Egbuka have not declared their intentions regarding the 2024 NFL Draft, but both are projected as first-round selections, so it would not be surprising if both Harrison and Egbuka decide to sit out the Cotton Bowl.

Fortunately for Ohio State football fans, WR coach Brian Hartline has been stockpiling superior talent for this position group, so players such as Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss, Noah Brown, and Jayden Ballard, combined with Xavier Johnson (who is projected to play his final game as a Buckeye) should seize the opportunity to show what they can do with their respective opportunities.

3. Defensive Back ~ The last of the position groups on this list, as players such as the aforementioned Cameron Martinez, as well as Ryan Turner, Jyaire Brown, and Kye Stokes all added their names into the transfer portal.

Next. Ohio State Football: Three guys to watch in Cotton Bowl. dark

The departure of those players may have to do with the emergence of talented freshmen defensive backs such as Jermaine Mathews, Jr., Malik Hartford, and Calvin Simpson-Hunt. All three of those freshmen have been playing more as the 2023 season progressed, and all three could be counted upon to help supplement the secondary in the Cotton Bowl, especially if starter Denzel Burke decides to sit out the bowl game.