Ohio State and the spring transfer portal window: Impact on 2024 Buckeyes (2024)

Ohio State and the spring transfer portal window: Impact on 2024 Buckeyes (1)

By Cameron Teague Robinson

May 1, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The transfer portal is officially closed, and the Ohio State Buckeyes had a relatively quiet window this time around.

After losing 19 players in the winter, Ohio State lost just six this spring, running back Dallan Hayden, safeties Ja’Had Carter and Cedrick Hawkins, offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi, wide receiver Kyion Grayes and linebacker Nigel Hayes.


We talked about Hayden and Hawkins during our April mailbag, but Carter, Vimahi, Grayes and Hayes were late additions to the portal, with the final three coming on the final day of the portal window, so here are a few thoughts on the departures and a few other post-spring topics.

Change to graduate transfers could impact Will Howard: The portal has been simple for graduate transfers as they can come and go as they please, and it doesn’t have to be during the transfer windows. I was asked in our mailbag what Howard could do if he lost the quarterback battle to Devin Brown. At the time, the rule was that Howard could transfer whenever he wanted and still play this season, but that’s not the case anymore.

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If Howard planned to transfer and play this season, he would’ve had to do so by April 30, like everybody else. He didn’t enter the portal, and with one year of eligibility left, he’s going to finish his college career at Ohio State.

I still expect Howard to be the starter, but I thought it was important to clarify since it changed just a few days after I got the question in the mailbag.

Impact on the transfers who left: Ohio State didn’t lose a lot in this window. The biggest loss was Hayden, but of the latter portal entrees, nothing was too surprising.

Vimahi was a second-team mainstay at guard and never pushed for starting playing time. Hayes arrived from Northwestern last summer and was buried down the depth chart, and Grayes, a former four-star prospect and top-100 receiver, was down the depth chart and couldn’t make many moves this spring.

Ohio State has around 80 scholarship players, which is a good thing because it can add pieces across the board. Vimahi is a big one because he opens room on the line and gives Justin Frye a chance to address the team’s biggest weakness with one or two additions. None of the transfers played more than 100 snaps last season, Vimahi had the most with 99 snaps.

GO DEEPERWill O-line cost Buckeyes a title? Are QBs headed to the portal? Ohio State mailbag

Every team loses players in the transfer portal, but Ohio State did a good job of keeping its depth in this window.

Ohio State and the spring transfer portal window: Impact on 2024 Buckeyes (5)

Former UCLA offensive lineman Bruno Fina has ties to Ohio State assistant coaches Chip Kelly and Justin Frye. (Stan Szeto / USA Today)

One name that makes sense for Ohio State: There’s one name I like in the portal, UCLA offensive lineman Bruno Fina.

He was UCLA’s starting left tackle last season and was playing right guard in the spring, according to the LA Times. In an ideal world, Fina would give the Buckeyes some needed versatility with Josh Fryar, and Frye could let them battle during the summer for who should play guard and tackle.


Fina was a three-star recruit, and his primary recruiter was Frye in 2020. His previous coach, too, was Chip Kelly. I’m not saying that Ohio State has reached out, and this is a sure thing; I’m just mentioning a name I thought was interesting. I’d expect Ohio State to get active in the portal soon.

Ohio State keeps depth through open portal window: The Buckeyes talked all spring about how important their depth would be this season, especially with the expanded College Football Playoff.

While some teams lost key depth in the portal, Ohio State did a good job of keeping every major piece of its roster, outside of Hayden. This might seem like a minor thing, but I’d argue that it’s the biggest accomplishment this offseason for the Buckeyes.

They kept all five quarterbacks on the roster, and the defensive line is still loaded with talent, as are the receivers and cornerbacks.

We officially can say, Ohio State is loaded and know nothing is going to change between now and the start of the season, other than some injuries. But because Ohio State didn’t lose a lot of players to the portal, it is well positioned to navigate the injuries that come up throughout the offseason and during the regular season.

The transfer windows can be a stressful time for coaches who don’t know what’s going to happen to their roster in the coming weeks. Ohio State, however, does a good job of being open with its players about where they are on the depth chart and in their development. That’s paying off.

Ohio State should be a preseason top-three team, at worst.

GO DEEPERProjecting Ohio State's depth chart: Who emerged as starters this spring?

A look at Ohio State’s draft prospects for next year: There were a few important notes from this year’s draft class.

Marvin Harrison Jr. became the fourth Ohio State receiver drafted in the first round in the past three years, and Emeka Egbuka should make that four straight years next year.

But there were also only four Ohio State players drafted. Harrison went No. 4 to the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Hall Jr. was a second-round pick, Cade Stover went in the fourth round and Tommy Eichenberg was taken in the fifth. All of those players expected to be drafted, but it was still the lowest number of Ohio State players drafted since three were picked in 2013.


Part of the reason for the low number is the return of Ohio State’s stellar junior class. There’s a real chance Ohio State sees around 10 players drafted next year, with Denzel Burke and JT Tuimoloau leading that group.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Burke and Tuimoloau as first-round picks in his early 2025 mock draft.

GO DEEPEREarly 2025 NFL mock draft: Who's QB1? Plus, two Michigan prospects crack the top five

Regardless of where they are before the season, the return of several prospects, mixed with a strong group of sophom*ores who took a major step, means the Buckeyes could light up the draft boards next year with a good season.

It’s still extremely early, but it’s hard to see a way Ohio State doesn’t have at least eight players drafted as Egbuka, Donovan Jackson, Seth McLaughlin, TreVeyon Henderson, Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Burke and Tyleik Williams are locks.

(Top photo of Will Howard: Adam Cairns / USA Today)

Ohio State and the spring transfer portal window: Impact on 2024 Buckeyes (2024)
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