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Ohio State lands top-ranked player in transfer portal who left Alabama

Safety Caleb Downs, the top-rated player in the NCAA transfer portal, has committed to Ohio State.

His father, Gary Downs, told 247Sports.com that he would become a Buckeye. Downs picked Alabama over Ohio State, Georgia and Notre Dame as the No. 6 overall player in the 247Sports composite rankings as a high school senior last year.

He was named the Football Writers Association of America’s national Freshman of the Year, the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year and was a second-team All-SEC honoree.

Downs, who’s listed as 6-foot and 203 pounds, led the Crimson Tide in tackles last season with 107. He had two interceptions, a forced fumble and returned a punt for a touchdown.

Downs, a Hoschton, Georgia, native, entered the transfer portal following the retirement of Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. It was widely expected that Downs would land at Georgia after the Bulldogs hired his Alabama position coach, Travaris Robinson.

But instead, he is now a Buckeye. Ohio State coaches reportedly made an in-home visit with Downs on Thursday, and that clearly proved persuasive.

Downs becomes the fourth major transfer addition for Ohio State, joining quarterback Will Howard, All-SEC running back Quinshon Judkins, and Alabama center Seth McLaughlin.

Downs will join a safety unit that has returning starters Lathan Ransom and Sonny Styles. Sixth-year senior Josh Proctor graduated after having a breakthrough final season as a Buckeye.

Ohio State also retained several defensive players eligible for the NFL draft, including linemen J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer and Tyleik Williams. The Buckeyes yielded only 11.2 points per game in 2023.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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