Greg McElroy made the case for Ohio State as the nation’s top defense entering the 2024 season earlier this week.

McElroy ranked his top 10 defenses in an episode of Always College Football, putting the Buckeyes in the top spot. Ohio State returns several key pieces from a defense that, last season, allowed just 4.17 yards per play (3rd nationally).

The Buckeyes also made a huge addition in the transfer portal by landing former Alabama safety Caleb Downs. McElroy talked about Ohio State’s impressive personnel when making his case while also pointing to an area where the Buckeyes can improve.

“The best returning defender for them is Denzel Burke, but the best defender overall is Caleb Downs,” McElroy said. “They also have good, solid defensive ends. Now I’m not going to sit here and put Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau in the Hall of Fame right now. I think they’re really solid. I think they’re excellent players. I’d like to see more out of them, if I’m going to be honest with you, from a consistency standpoint.

“I’ve seen JT Tuimoloau be the best player on the field from time to time. I don’t see it all the time, though, and I’m hoping maybe this is the year that that can happen on a more consistent basis.”

McElroy also pointed out that Ohio State should be more comfortable under defensive coordinator Jim Knowles as he enters his 3rd season in Columbus.

“It’s Year 3 under Jim Knowles,” McElroy said. “They are really solid. From a depth standpoint, from a personnel standpoint. And they have star-studded pieces on the perimeter, which I think is going to be where it starts when playing against the best teams in the sport.”

Ohio State has massive expectations entering the 2024 campaign. The Buckeyes are amongst the betting favorites to make the College Football Playoff this season and will also be fighting to snap a 3-game losing streak to rival Michigan.

Ohio State’s win total for the 2024 season currently sits at 10.5, according to the latest lines from Caesars Sportsbook. If you’re interested in betting that line, here’s a Caesars Sportsbook Ohio promo to help you get started with a generous first-best offer!

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Ohio State will open the 2024 season against Akron on Aug. 31.