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Buckeyes land transfer commitment from former South Carolina DB Keenan Nelson Jr.

Spencer-Holbrookby:Spencer Holbrook05/17/24


COLUMBUS — Ohio State is using the transfer portal to bolster its depth in the defensive backfield: former South Carolina safety Keenan Nelson Jr. has committed to the Buckeyes.

Nelson made the announcement on social media Friday morning, making the move from Columbia to Columbus with multiple years of eligibility remaining.

Nelson Jr. played in a total of 15 games, starting four for the Gamecocks. He saw time at the safety and nickel positions in the secondary as well as on special teams.

During the 2023 season, he started three games, playing in 11 of 12 games at South Carolina. Nelson Jr. tallied nine tackles, including a tackle for loss. He blocked a punt against Vanderbilt that he returned 18 yards for a touchdown.

As a prospect, Nelson Jr. was rated by the On3 Industry Ranking as the No. 323 prospect in the country. He was additionally ranked by the metric as the 10th-best prospect in the state of Pennsylvania and the 33rd-best safety in the country.

Nelson played his high school football at St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia, the same high school that produced former Ohio State star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and former Buckeyes starting quarterback Kyle McCord, who is now at Syracuse.

The addition of a safety from the transfer portal should come as no shock to anyone. Ohio State had just six scholarship safeties on the roster prior to Nelson’s pledge, and head coach Ryan Day even said that the Buckeyes could add to their portal class.

Day said as much during a radio appearance on 97.1 The Fan on Wednesday morning.

“We’re still trying to put a couple of last pieces together,” Day said. “And then it just goes about what’s the team’s intact. Finally, I think that we’re getting close to that right now. We’re probably about a week or two away from having an exact feel for who our team is going to be.

“We just have to go about developing the high-end part of the roster. And then obviously, the young guys coming in have got to get on the field.”

Keenan Nelson Jr. is the latest piece that helps the Buckeyes.

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