Columbus, Ohio — The Ohio State football team completed what should be a historic defense this autumn by seizing a second opportunity.

With a freshman All-American season at Alabama that almost lived up to the hype surrounding his five-star, top-10 prospect numbers, Caleb Downs committed to OSU via the transfer portal on Friday night. The Buckeyes lost a close recruitment battle to the greatest coach in history, which prevented them from having that incredible first season.

After Nick Saban retired, Downs made the decision to go to Columbus a year later than planned. While there are still some unresolved issues regarding OSU’s offense, the only one regarding defense is whether this team will be able to compete with Georgia’s 2021 club for the title of greatest in recent memory of the sport.

In contrast to Downs, Proctor was thought to be a transfer with more work ahead of it for OSU, as they had not come close to signing him out of high school. Proctor switched his commitment from Iowa to Alabama just before signing day in 2022.

Another Ohio State football transfer target from Alabama commits to different  Big Ten program - cleveland.com

 

A number of Alabama athletes signed up through the portal following coach Nick Saban’s announcement on January 10 that he was retiring. An offensive line looking to recover from an inconsistent 2023 would have had another high-upside option in Proctor, who started all 14 games as a true freshman last season.

Ohio State returns both starting tackles in Josh Simmons and Josh Fryar. A number of other players such as George Fitzpatrick, Zen Michalski, Luke Montgomery and Tegra Tshabola could challenge for those jobs this spring.

The Buckeyes’ defensive line will still match up with Proctor. Iowa comes to Ohio State on Oct. 5 this season. They could also face him in 2026 in Iowa City, if he does not head to the NFL after three seasons

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