Ohio State was one of the most active teams in the NCAA transfer portal in terms of landing some serious instant impact players, like Kansas State quarterback Will Howard and Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins.
But despite the high-profile nature of those transfers, there’s one common denominator.
They all wanted to play for a championship-caliber team.
“It was interesting because obviously there was a few questions about like NIL because of what Lane Kiffin tweeted and the storylines that have talked about Ohio State and NIL,” said Spencer Holbrook of Lettermen Row on the Andy Staples On3 show. “And most of them have said that, ‘we know that we can win a championship here and this is a championship level team.’ And I thought that was interesting because with all of the focus on Ohio State for whatever reason with this NIL stuff, they are just dead set on working.”
But the fuel of playing for a championship-caliber team can help you power through those tough offseason workouts.
“And Ryan Day said it best, you can put a slogan anywhere, but at the end of the day you’re here to work,” Holbrook said. “They’re done with the slogans, they’re just working hard. And you can get that sense from the transfers. They’re ready to just hit the ground running, they’re ready to get to work, they’re ready for spring ball for sure, because you get to the middle of the winter and it gets a little tedious trying to go lift every single day.
“They’re very excited. It is a championship-caliber team with a championship-caliber coaching staff for sure, especially now with Chip Kelly. And they know the opportunity’s in front of them.”
One of the things that will make life a little easier on Ohio State, at least potentially, is that there’s a huge number of key returning contributors.
There shouldn’t be much room for anyone to get complacent, even if they were a competent starter at their last school. That’s the kind of thing that can turn an above average team into a championship-caliber one.
“They just plugged the holes where they needed them. Ohio State didn’t go into the transfer portal looking for the biggest superstars in the game like Caleb Downs, he just happened to be there,” Holbrook said. “Obviously once he went in they went after him, but they were just going in to look for holes that needed to plug once they got all those returners back. And that’s the thing that excites me the most, is how is the culture going to work with these new transfers coming in and obviously there’s NIL at play there.
“Well, they’ve got a pretty good foundation with 11 guys who could have gone to the NFL and instead decided to come back for another year. And you’ve got to rely on your leadership when you bring in transfers, but they certainly have got a lot of it.”