What does the new transfer safety add to the Ohio State football team?

The Ohio State football team gets some much-needed depth at the safety position.
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Now that the Ohio State football team has bolstered the safety position by adding transfer Keenan Nelson, the question is, how does the former South Carolina Gamecock fit with his new team?

I can almost promise you this: Nelson is not going to be an immediate starter. With Caleb Downs, Lathan Ransom, and Jordan Hancock having locked down the starting spots, Nelson will provide much-needed depth to a unit that had just five scholarship players before he chose to join the OSU program.

He did make four starts over his two seasons with the Gamecocks, including the 2022 Gator Bowl against Notre Dame. But with three years of eligibility remaining, he is someone I think who is better suited to being developed into a starter down the road.

A high school cornerback, he’s comfortable playing in the slot-South Carolina used him in this way at times. Does this mean he’ll be the first man up if Jordan Hancock goes down? I doubt it because the Buckeyes have a few guys capable of stepping in to cover the slot receiver.

Most likely, Nelson’s impact on the Buckeyes this season will be seen on special teams. Against Vanderbilt last season, he blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. He also proved to be a very willing and capable blocker on South Carolina’s return units. I think you’ll see him be a very visible presence on the Buckeyes’ special teams.

Nelson seems almost the perfect fit for Ryan Day’s program right now. He was not a regular starter in his first two seasons with South Carolina, so he does not join the Buckeyes with the expectation of winning a starting job right away.


He is coming in to add much-needed depth to a unit that suddenly found itself thin in numbers. His addition is not one that will make a big splash throughout college football, but this is most certainly an important get for the Buckeyes and one that may really pay off down the road.