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5 things to know about Ohio State's incoming transfers and early enrollees

Jan. 13—Fifteen of the 20 members of Ohio State's 2024 recruiting class began school this week, including Aaron Scott Jr. of Springfield.

Along with a handful of potential impact transfers, they are getting acclimated to life in Columbus and learning what it means to be a Buckeye.

Here is what you need to know about the newcomers:

1. The player most likely to make an early impact is Jeremiah Smith.

Not only is Smith the No. 1-ranked player in the country, he plays a position where getting on the field early is arguably easiest.

The receiver room is missing four players from the end of the season after Marvin Harrison Jr. went pro and Julian Fleming, Noah Rogers and Bryson Rodgers entered the transfer portal.

Smith is also considered a special talent at 6-foot-3 and 214 pounds coming out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Miami, Fla.

2. Another wave of defensive backs is in town.

Scott headlines a highly regarded group in the secondary that likely will have some time to get acclimated before being needed.

That is thanks to a trio of veterans who could have gone to the NFL — safety Lathan Ransom and cornerbacks Jordan Hancock and Denzel Burke — opting not to.

There are still holes in the depth chart, though, with starting strong safety Josh Proctor graduating and multiple younger DBs transferring out last month.

Scott, Bryce West of Cleveland Glenville, Miles Lockhart of Chandler, Ariz., and Jaylen McClain of Rahway, N.J., will all be looking to get acclimated this year with a potential free-for-all for playing time in 2025 when Ransom, Hancock and Burke are gone.

3. There is more offensive line depth.

In his second full recruiting cycle at Ohio State, offensive line coach Justin Frye signed four new players to go with the four he brought in last year.

Three of the '24 line signees are in school now with hopes of getting a head start on learning the offense and taking advantage of the nutrition, strength and conditioning programs: Four-star prospect Ian Moore of New Palestine, Ind., and twin brothers Deontae and Devontae Armstrong of Lakewood St. Edward, who are both three-stars.

Gabe VanSickle, a four-star prospect from Coopersville, Mich., is set to join the program this summer.

The lines are often thin in spring, but Frye could have as many as 16 scholarship players to work with including Alabama transfer Seth McLaughlin when spring practice begins in the first week of March.

4. And a new quarterback.

Air Noland rose up the rankings during his senior season at Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, Ga., to be a five-star recruit when all was said and done.

He threw for over 10,000 yards in high school but figures to have plenty of time to develop at Ohio State — unless he proves too good to keep on the sideline.

Noland is the No. 4-rated quarterback in the class of 2024.

5. The transfers are likely to reshape offense.

Ohio State did not hit the transfer portal hard when it first opened, but the Buckeyes ended up making a big splash.

Will Howard could be the new starting quarterback after a second-team All-Big 12 season at Kansas State, but sophomore Devin Brown will not let him have the job without a fight.

Whoever plays quarterback can hand off to Quinshon Judkins, who arrives at Ohio State after being one of the best running backs in the SEC at Mississippi the last two seasons.

McLaughlin could be the new center after Carson Hinzman struggled through a rough 2023 as an undersized redshirt freshman in the middle of the Ohio State line, but adding more depth at the position was critical no matter who starts because the No. 2 and 3 centers from 2023 both transferred. Wayne grad Joshua Padilla is also in the pipeline at center, but the redshirt freshman could likely benefit from another year of development before being thrown into the fire the way Hinzman was last fall.

Will Kacmarek is the lowest-profile of the four OSU transfers, but the former Ohio Bobcat could also be a critical part of the offense as a blocking tight end, a major weakness for the Buckeyes last fall.