Ohio State made it through the spring without many major departures after the practice session and transfer window closed. That leaves the Buckeyes as the big winner of the spring, and their outlook for the 2024 season remains among the best in the country.

Following recent court decisions, some analysts were expecting the spring to be open season for many players in the transfer portal. That outlook did not entirely develop, and Ohio State retained the bulk of its roster.

From Ohio State’s departures, the group of running back Dallan Hayden, wide receiver Kyion Grayes, offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi and safety Ja’Had Carter represent the biggest pieces. However, none of that group was expected to play a major role this fall.

Hayden has shined in spurts when given an opportunity, but he remains buried on the RB depth chart. His playing time took another hit when Ohio State was able to add Quinshon Judkins to go with TreVeyon Henderson.

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Carter, a rotational player a season ago, found himself in a similar role when Caleb Downs transferred to the Buckeyes. Grayes, a 4-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, was unlikely to see major snaps in the deep wide receiver room.

Ultimately, the bigger win here for the Buckeyes stems to the quarterback room. Much like NFL teams, the majority of college football is constantly in search of either a starting QB or a backup with talent heading into the season.

However, that did not bite Ohio State with the Buckeyes able to maintain all 5 QBs of a group that includes Will Howard, Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz, Julian Sayin and Air Noland. As true freshmen, Sayin and Noland were less likely to make an immediate decision, especially with Sayin drawing rave reviews from Ryan Day throughout the spring.

As for the older players in the group, Howard has always looked like the potential starter after a veteran career for Kansas State. Brown also shined in the spring game and is likely to play the backup role with a package of designed plays this fall with Kienholz waiting in the wings.

That kind of depth under center is a coaches dream, especially after last season when Kyle McCord failed to develop and a mid-season injury to Devin Brown left him unable to contribute for a large stretch. It also makes Ohio State the team to beat in the Big Ten and possibly in the country.

Ohio State’s outlook

Heading into the summer, Ohio State headlines the total Big Ten Championship odds at +154 with Oregon (+233) and Michigan (+514) the next closest competitors. Fans can take advantage of those odds with Tradition’s FanDuel Ohio promo code.

A key group of incoming players that includes Judkins, Downs, Howard, offensive lineman Seth McLaughlin and tight end Will Kacmarek plays a key role in those odds. However, the main foundation for Ohio State is still the group of returning players from the 2023 season.

“The guys they convinced to come back, I think it’s the biggest story in the Big Ten this year,” said Josh Pate with 247 Sports. “JTT, Jack Sawyer, TreVeyon Henderson, Emeka Egbuka. A lot of those guys could have been hearing their name called in the NFL Draft this past week, and they all came back. And it’s a recipe to win a championship… That’s a foundation that you need to win a championship.”

Ohio State fans don’t want to hear the comparison, but the recent example of a team returning that kind of NFL talent is Michigan. Controversy aside (if possible), that team went 15-0 and produced 13 draft picks at last weekend’s 2024 NFL Draft.

The Buckeyes have the core group in place to regain the top of the B1G, and it’s the kind of serious depth that makes the team a player on the national level. After falling just short in recent seasons, this could be the year for Ohio State to finally breakthrough under Ryan Day.

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