The Ohio State football team has made much progress so far this offseason. Between recruiting, the transfer portal, and being able to keep most of its draft-eligible players on the roster, Ryan Day and his staff have hit a home run so far since the 2023 season wrapped up.
But as we inch close to Spring practices, now would be a good time to look back and view which moves were the best ones. Here are our top three moves of the offseason thus far.
No. 1) Adding Caleb Downs via the transfer portal
Nick Saban retiring at Alabama opened the door for the Buckeyes to re-pursue one of its top targets from the 2023 recruiting class. Caleb Downs, the freshman All-American, was seen as a major lean for Georgia once he entered the portal. But an afternoon with Ryan Day, Jim Knowles, Tim Walton, and Matt Guererri changed all that and now he's in Columbus.
Downs is not just a great player, he's generational. He is instantly the best safety that Ohio State has had since Malik Hooker. Downs will solidify the back end, thus giving Jim Knowles the opportunity to move Sonny Styles all over the field at will. Downs is a game-changer, and he is exactly the type of player who could lead this defense to a national title in 2024.
No. 2) Hiring Chip Kelly as OC
This could have applied to Bill O'Brien had he stayed, but the thought remains the same. Kelly's hire gives Ryan Day the chance to become a CEO-type coach and it is going to be exciting to see how he takes to that role.
Kelly adds years of head coaching and play-calling experience from both the college level and the NFL ranks. He is somebody that Day is familiar with and is somebody that Day can lean on when times get tough. It also doesn't hurt that the Buckeyes just sent a nice welcome gift to UCLA for joining the Big Ten by taking their head coach.
No. 3) Adding Quinshon Judkins via the transfer portal
This could have easily gone to Will Howard coming in as quarterback as well, but I believe Quinshon Judkins will have a major role in Ohio State's success in 2024. Judkins comes in as arguably the best running back in the SEC and pairing him with TreVeyon Henderson could be electric.
And given Chip Kelly's affinity for running the ball, I would not be at all surprised to see two 1,000-yard running backs in the backfield for the Buckeyes in 2024.