Ohio State football: Caleb Downs' future uncertain even after Buckeye interest

The Ohio State football team would love to add the safety from Alabama to next year's already-loaded secondary, but he is uncertain about whether or not to enter the transfer portal.
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The Ohio State football team had one of the best defenses in the country in 2023 after finishing in the top five in every major category except rushing defense. They will be even better next year after bringing a host of players back, including every member of the secondary except one.

That one member is safety, Josh Procter. He is out of eligibility so the Buckeyes have to replace him. They would love to replace him with a safety from the transfer portal that they pursued heavily in recruiting in the 2023 class, and that safety is Caleb Downs.

Downs ended up committing to Alabama over Ohio State and Georgia and played a lot in his true freshman season. With Nick Saban retiring, there were rumors that he could enter the transfer portal and head to either Athens or Columbus. He's still deciding on that.

As much as Ohio State would love to add him, Georgia would very much be in the mix as well. Downs was very close to committing to the Bulldogs too. If he does enter the transfer portal, I expect a fight of NIL money between both the Ohio State football program and Georgia for his services.

Of course, Downs may elect to stay at Bama anyway. Perhaps new coach Kalen DeBoer can convince him to stay and continue what Saban has built there. He still has a few days to decide what he's going to do. I do know that Ohio State has interest in him if he were to appear in the portal.

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Until that decision is made, Ryan Day needs to focus on hiring an OC. That's the number one priority for him at the moment. Then it will be finishing up the 2024 recruiting class with Signing Day in February before Spring ball in April.