3 most important Ohio State football players for this season

In the most critical Ohio State football season of Ryan Day's career, these three players are the most important to their success.
Jan 30, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State University football quarterback transfer Will Howard
Jan 30, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State University football quarterback transfer Will Howard / Doral Chenoweth / USA TODAY NETWORK
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3. Caleb Downs

One of the biggest gets for the Buckeyes in the transfer portal this offseason was getting Caleb Downs. The safety from Alabama transferred to Ohio State after Nick Saban decided to retire. Downs heavily considered the Buckeyes coming out of high school.

Now that he's with the Buckeyes, a secondary that was already nasty becomes even better. Adding Downs gives the Buckeyes the flexibility to move Sonny Styles to linebacker. Having both hard hitters on the field should make stopping the run a lot easier, which is something they struggled with against TTUN.

Downs is already an NFL-caliber safety. Having him roaming the secondary makes Ohio State one of the scariest secondaries in the country. They might have the best secondary of anyone, and it's certainly the one that's the best in the Big Ten. No one else comes close to comparing.

If Downs is able to come downhill and stop the run when teams are trying to bleed the clock, this defense reaches a whole new level. That was the real reason why the Buckeyes lost to TTUN last year. They couldn't stop them from running the ball on that final drive. It didn't give McCord and the offense enough time to score.

It's also not like Downs can't cover. His covering skills are strong too. Ohio State just doesn't need much help covering passes. They already have Lathan Ransom, Denzel Burke, and Davison Igbinosun back to help with that. He's just gravy.

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These three players will decide the fate of the 2024 Ohio State football team. If they all play well, this team could be walking away with multiple trophies. If they don't, a new head coach might be leading the program in 2025.