Expect the Ohio State football team to add a transfer portal running back

Down to only four scholarship running backs, the Ohio State football team will almost assuredly look to the transfer portal.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Although Dallan Hayden stands just 5’10”, his impending departure via transfer from the Ohio State backfield leaves a very large hole. The Buckeyes will have just four scholarship running backs and two of those are true freshmen. I don’t doubt for a second that Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly will look to the transfer portal to add depth to this position group.

There is no question that TreVeyon Henderson and Mississippi transfer Quinshon Judkins will be numbers 1 and 1-A. Each compliments the other’s style and will split the overwhelming majority of the carries. It’s that number three spot that is a concern right now. Not just because of the lack of depth, but also because of Henderson’s history of injuries. One of these two will probably miss time during the season, so the Buckeye offense needs a strong third option.

One name from the transfer portal has already been strongly tied to the Buckeyes. Not long after Kay'Ron Lynch-Adams of UMass announced he will enter the portal when it opens, a Crystal Ball prediction was given for the Buckeyes by Mike Traini, who covers the Minutemen for Fight Massachusetts.

Lynch-Adams is an Ohio native from Warren who had a breakout season in 2023 when he ran for over 1,200 yards. Although he would be a very good addition to the OSU backfield, he has only a year of eligibility remaining and I can’t see him wanting to go into a situation where his playing time would be limited. Ohio recruiting guru Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts said Lynch-Adams and the Buckeyes have not spoken since January. But Kurelic also points out he is hearing Lynch-Adams is interested if the Buckeyes come calling.

There may be a viable option for the number three running back already on the roster. Redshirt sophomore walk-on T.C. Caffey has had a monster spring and caught the eye of Ryan Day,  “He's done a very good job, he's very disciplined in his approach and he’s a guy that can really bring value for us.”

Day said he thinks Caffey has earned carries. If you remember him as a true freshman, this isn’t surprising. Against Toledo in 2022, he turned in one of the more memorable touchdown runs of the season. Unfortunately, an injury cost him the remainder of that season and hampered him all through 2023. Now healthy, the Hubbard High School product who ran for over 2,600 yards as a senior, appears well on his way to making an impact. Don’t let his walk-on status fool you, Caffey is a legitimate talent who can help this offense.

Even with the emergence of Caffey, I think Day will take a serious look at adding a running back via the transfer portal. Most likely, it will be someone willing to be a number three for a season with a chance at more playing time in the future, or a graduate player in his final season of eligibility who is happy to provide depth as a number three or four.

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Running back depth is something the Buckeyes need to have this season.