COLUMBUS — Ohio State tight end Joe Royer entered the transfer portal Thursday night. He became the 14th Buckeyes player to do so this cycle.
Royer scattered just 44 offensive snaps across four games this season, only one of which was after Week 4. As was the case in 2022, injury trouble limited Royer this year. Meanwhile, Cade Stover, Gee Scott Jr. — and even walk-on Patrick Gurd — took most of the snaps at tight end for Ohio State.
Royer, a former four-star prospect from Elder in Cincinnati, appeared to be in line to become the Buckeyes’ starting tight end in spring 2022. Stover, after all, started spring ball back then at linebacker, where he finished the previous season in the Rose Bowl.
Except, a third of the way through spring practice, Stover moved back to tight end. Not only did Stover go on to assert himself as Ohio State’s TE1, but, by the time September rolled around, Royer was temporarily out of the tight end picture. The passing of Royer’s mother, Micki, coincided with him being sidelined for a groin injury that cost him seven games.
Royer eventually made his way back to the field and actually, because of injuries to Stover and Scott, played more snaps against Georgia in the Peach Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal than he had any in other game of his Ohio State career.
When all was said and done, Royer clocked out with 28 offensive snaps in the heavyweight thriller. To put that in perspective, he logged 34 total offensive snaps the previous year. Royer made one of his four career receptions in the loss. It went for nine yards.
Royer didn’t see the field in 2020 after making the transition from high school, where he was the No. 395 overall prospect, the No. 13 tight end and the No. 7 Ohio recruit in the 2020 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking.
Royer didn’t play wideout in high school, but he might as well have. He posted 70 receptions for 1,258 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior season at Elder. That included a four-catch, 112-yard, two-score performance in a playoff win over St. Xavier, en route to a Division I state final appearance. Royer was ultimately recognized as first-team All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriter’s Association.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end also had offers from Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin and West Virginia, among other schools.