The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on Ryan Day and the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about adding a graduate transfer? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
Ryan Day said they were at 83 before signing day, signed 2, does this mean there is not room for the transfer lineman from Rutgers?
— Brian Bean (@bigbean9) February 7, 2019
Ohio State is at the scholarship limit — for now.
Could the Buckeyes stay right there and have absolutely no more offseason attrition all the way up until the season opener in August? Certainly that’s a possibility, but it’s decidedly unlikely. Whether it’s a graduate transfer looking for a better situation, a reserve simply looking for a different fit or potentially a medical situation that disqualifies somebody from playing again with the program, it’s almost a certainty that Ohio State will have roster spots available to use on the transfer market.
The Buckeyes are still very much a player in the sweepstakes for Jonah Jackson. And one way or another, Ryan Day will still be looking for a quarterback with eligibility this fall to again fulfill the desired quota of four scholarship passers on the roster.
Ohio State may be at the limit right now with 85 spots filled heading into spring practice — but all that matters is being there when the season rolls around, and there will be movement that allows the program to keep looking for other options to fill its remaining needs. When it comes to graduate transfers in particular, it’s important to keep in mind that generally they wouldn’t be enrolling until the summer or in time for training camp anyway.
The Buckeyes are, though, quite proud of the ability they’ve had of keeping their players in the fold. So, unless they get an indication that there will in fact be room, Jackson or a quarterback like Nick Starkel will have to wait — and could conceivably be locked out.
“When you look at what we’ve done as a culture since August and with the coaching change, we’ve only had two guys leave the program: Keandre Jones, Tate Martell,” Day said on Wednesday. “One was a grad transfer, one a quarterback. When you keep the retention like, it shows about the culture in the coaching change, but also it isn’t about signing 27 guys because you’re retaining guys.
“Guys want to stay in the program. That’s the strength of our team right now.”
Top to bottom, few rosters in the country can stack up with what the Buckeyes are bringing back. And looking at the big picture, the chance to be a part of a championship program, learning at a respected university and participating in the famed Real Life Wednesdays is a major incentive for many guys to stick around at Ohio State.
Will all of the current 85 guys as of National Signing Day do that? Maybe, but probably not. And it’s not even really fair to the players to speculate about what might happen to reach the magic number if there are departures.
Sitting where Ohio State is now doesn’t leave much wiggle room. But eventually it’s a safe bet that the Buckeyes will be able to squeeze in a lineman and a quarterback.
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