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Five reasons to be excited about Alabama safety transfer Caleb Downs for Ohio State

Ohio State football’s impressive offseason continued on Friday evening, when they landed the top transfer of the 2024 cycle, former Alabama safety Caleb Downs.

The star member of the secondary wasn’t just a small contributor for the Tide, he was a day one starter, earned All-American status and led the team with over 100 tackles on the year.

After a somewhat slow start to the transfer portal cycle, head coach Ryan Day has exploded with five big time players from other schools, Downs being at the top of the list.

There are so many reasons to be excited about this addition, and here are five reasons to be excited for Kaleb Downs to be suiting up in the Scarlet and Gray this fall.

Caleb Downs is an elite, proven talent

Why to be excited

This year’s portal class is different than what Ohio State had done in previous cycles, they added players who will start immediately.  Downs is at the top of the list, not only bringing an elite skill set, but a highly productive one as well. This past season he registered 107 total tackles, 70 of them solo, with two interceptions and a a forced fumble and recovering one. Downs is a plug-and-play starter from day one.

Caleb Downs return ability

Why to be excited

It has long been an issue with Ohio State special teams not having a semblance of a return game. When Downs entered the portal, it was known that he wanted to continue being a return man, after fielding four of them this past season, one going for a score. He averaged 21.75-yard on those, but clearly the touchdown was the biggest one. Downs finally gives the Buckeyes a legit threat, and with Day finally getting rid of special teams coach Parker Fleming, he should help unlock this aspect of the team.

Reemergence of a pipeline to SEC country

Why to be excited

It’s not just the addition of an elite talent like Downs, it’s the fact that Ohio State went into SEC country and stole him from that region. Most of the early chatter was that he was going to end up at Georgia, his home state school, but clearly that wasn’t the case. It will help immensely going forward, showing other prospects from the South that you can go up to Columbus and achieve all of your goals.

Ohio State’s NIL collectives finally flexing their muscle

Why to be excited

Ohio State’s two biggest collectives, The Foundation and The 1870 Society, seemed like they weren’t on the same page early in the Name, Image, and Likeness era. That can now be squashed, as they were major players in getting Downs to Columbus along with the other players who transferred in. It took all of the Ohio State resources to get him to campus and you have to give some credit to those collectives.

Ryan Day’s willingness to go for it all

Why to be excited

It became very clear that Day needed to make changes, not only to the coaching staff, but with the roster as well. Adding safeties coach Matt Guirrieri and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien were big time moves. Getting quarterback Will Howard, center Seth McLaughlin, running back Quinshon Judkins and now Downs shows that Day isn’t just standing pat. He’s going for it all, and it’s refreshing to see him actively making moves to get the Buckeyes back atop the Big Ten and the college football world.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire