Buckeyes tight end Will Kacmarek sheds black stripe

Spencer-Holbrookby:Spencer Holbrook04/05/24


COLUMBUS — Ohio State brought Will Kacmarek in from the transfer portal to bolster its tight end room.

Kacmarek is already making a big impact on the tight end room as he rises on the depth chart.

He saw a big step in that come to fruition on Friday after the latest Buckeyes practice; he shed his black stripe after practice, a signal that he’s officially a member of the football program.

Kacmarek is the fifth Buckeyes transfer portal addition to lose his black stripe this spring, joining running back Quinshon Judkins, quarterback Will Howard, safety Caleb Downs and potential starting center Seth McLaughlin.

Two other Buckeyes transfers are still waiting for their black stripes to be removed: freshman quarterback Julian Sayin and veterean linebacker Joey Velazquez,

Ohio State tight ends coach Keenan Bailey has been impressed with Will Kacmarek, the former Ohio Bobcats star, as he goes through his first spring with the Buckeyes.

“He still is transitioning,” Bailey said of Kacmarek. “I think it’s a credit to the guys that he had down in Athens. The transfer portal is strange because there are so many unknowns. You go in there, and you don’t — we were in the bowl prep and I didn’t have any time to get to know Will, so you’re going off of what you’re seeing on film. You have to trust that. He showed toughness. The next conversation, I had Sam Wigluzs calling me saying, ‘Coach Kee, you’d love him. He’s tough and you can coach him hard.’

“The last part is he was coached by one of the best tight ends coaches in the country in Brian Metz. So we kind of thought that he would transition like he has. He’s just putting down his head and working.”

That work is paying off for Kacmarek, who will have a chance to be the starting tight end for the Buckeyes. He’ll continue to compete against fifth-year senior Gee Scott Jr., third-year option Bennett Christian and second-year potential breakout star Jelani Thurman for the job this spring. A pair of freshmen tight ends will join the program this summer.

Kacmarek is taking another step toward accomplishing that feat. He’s going into the final week of spring practice without his black stripe after having it removed Friday.

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