Just about every program at the FBS level has had at least one player jump into the Transfer Portal. Ohio State is no different. With every new recruit and Transfer Portal commitment, there’s always the risk that a current player will try their luck elsewhere. The Ohio State Transfer Portal transactions page has been a bit busier than in recent years. This year, nearly a dozen Buckeyes took advantage of the open Transfer Portal.
Players leave for a number of reasons. Sometimes, promises are broken, other times, there is just no more room. Some of these former Buckeyes were highly ranked out of high school and saw that they may not have the opportunity to contribute as they once thought. It’s an unfortunate situation and it is always disappointing to see a player leave a program, but sometimes, it’s for the best. Just look at Jameson Williams when he went to Alabama or when Joe Burrow left for LSU.
The grass may not always be greener. However, some places may have a bit more sunlight to facilitate growth.
Ohio State Transfer Portal Rundown: The Departures
Jantzen Dunn, safety: Kentucky
The first departing commitment from the Ohio State Transfer Portal cycle was Jantzen Dunn to the SEC.
Dunn, who was originally from Kentucky, was recruited to Ohio State as the second-best player in the state. As a freshman, he appeared in just a pair of games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Then, in his second year, he appeared in just four games, all of which were on special teams.
Even if Dunn did not play much safety for Ohio State, the position unit is going to look very different with four safeties departing; two via the Portal, and two via the draft.
Teradja Mitchell, linebacker: Florida
One of the first Ohio State Transfer Portal names to surface, linebacker Teradja Mitchell, announced that he was leaving and joining Florida in the days leading up to Ohio State’s CFP Semifinal matchup with Georgia.
Mitchell came to Ohio State out of Virginia as a four-star signing in the 2018 class. It looked like Mitchell was going to be the next great linebacker to play for the Buckeyes. Five years later, not so fast.
In his first year, Mitchell redshirted after not appearing in any games. Over the next two years, he appeared in just eight games and managed just 18 tackles and two-and-a-half were for loss. Then, 2021 was his chance to shine and he appeared in 11 games. In his best year in 2021, Mitchell amassed 45 tackles and fou-and-a-half for loss. With the linebacker ranks unsure heading into 2022, Mitchell was selected as a captain and expectations were that he was going to finally take a step forward.
Alas, he appeared in four games and did not register a single stat.
He has just one year of eligibility remaining and he will spend it at Florida.
Jaylen Johnson, safety: Memphis
Reuniting with former Ohio State secondary coach, Matt Barnes, Jaylen Johnson is in need of a fresh start. He should get just that as he takes his talents to the AAC.
Johnson came to Ohio State as a three-star recruit from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a high school recruit, Johnson was viewed as a hard-hitting linebacker/safety hybrid. He was considered a high-upside recruit by 247Sports.
Unfortunately, Johnson suffered an ACL tear in Fall camp ahead of his freshman season in 2021. In the two seasons since, he has yet to appear in a collegiate game. He will join another former Buckeye in Memphis. Cormontae Hamilton transferred there prior to last year.
JK Johnson, corner: LSU
The debate of who is actually DBU is not going to be quelled anytime soon and JK Johnson transferring from one passionate fanbase to another is just going to stoke the flames.
Johnson was a four-star recruit in the 2021 class and had high, high expectations. After appearing in just two games as a freshman, he was an important piece of the cornerback rotation in 2022. With Cam Brown and Denzel Burke dealing with injuries, Johnson stepped in and started five games. In total, he appeared in all 13 games and contributed 20 tackles.
The hope was that Johnson would compete for a starting job this year. Instead, he will be reuniting with his high school coach as well as former Buckeye, Sevyn Banks.
Javontae Jean-Baptist, EDGE: Notre Dame
As with a few others on the OSU Transfer Portal rundown, Javontae Jean-Baptist will get the opportunity to play against his former team in 2023. And, of course, he will not have to wait long as Ohio State and Notre Dame square off in the fourth week of the season.
Jean-Baptist came to Ohio State as a highly-rated four-star player in the 2019 cycle. He got off to a decent start right out of the gate and contributed 14 tackles, one-and-a-half for loss, and one-and-a-half sacks in his first season. Over the course of his four-year career, Jean-Baptist amassed 51 tackles, 10 for loss, and eight sacks.
He will reunite with former Ohio State linebacker coach Al Washington for his final year of eligibility.
Mason Arnold, long snapper: Michigan State
Losing a long snapper may not seem like a big deal but Mason Arnold had to step in last year with an injury to the starter. Ohio State received a commitment from John Ferlmann and so Arnold elected to go ahead and jump in the portal himself.
He will have three years of eligibility left after snapping in seven games for the Buckeyes in 2022.
Kaleb Brown, wide receiver: Iowa
After just one season with the Buckeyes, Kaleb Brown found a new home. He was a four-star recruit in the 2022 class and had plenty of hype surrounding him. Considering the depth of the position, it was only natural that at least a few receivers would test out the Transfer Portal.
Brown is an incredibly athletic, high-upside receiver who has the talent to help revolutionize the Iowa offense.
Caleb Burton, wide receiver: Auburn
Just like Brown, Caleb Burton was a highly-ranked receiver in the 2022 class who was, unfortunately, buried in the depth. He was expected by some to be an immediate impact as a freshman but an undisclosed injury kept him off the field.
Hopefully, injuries are not the norm for Burton. In high school, he missed his junior season with a knee injury as well. He came to Ohio State as a four-star recruit and has his entire collegiate career ahead of him. Auburn gets Burton and his four remaining years of eligibility.
Michael O’Shaughnessy, punter: Michigan State
Michael O’Shaughnessy spent the last four years backing up both Drue Chrisman and Jesse Mirco. In that time, he appeared in just one game and let off a 47-yard punt as the Buckeyes were destroying Maryland in 2021. He’ll head to East Lansing with two years of eligibility remaining.
Ben Christman, tackle: Kentucky
As the third-best player from Ohio in the 2021 recruiting cycle, it looked like Ben Christman was going to end up as the next great Buckeye offensive lineman.
Christman, as a high school recruit, was a high-upside offensive tackle who was projected as an absolute mauler. He is currently expected to be a backup with a decent shot to play in 2023 for Kentucky.
Jake Seibert, kicker: Northern Illinois
Kickers may not move the needle much for some, but Jake Seibert was the second-best kicker in the 2020 class. Considering how Ohio State’s season ended kicker is still an important position.
In his time in Columbus, Seibert attempted just two field goals, making one against Alabama in the CFP National Title Game. He appeared in just three games and made all 16 extra points he attempted. However, that Alabama game was the last time he kicked the ball for the Buckeyes as he backed up Noah Ruggles in each of the last two years.
With Seibert’s commitment to NIU, the Ohio State Transfer Portal cycle is all sewn up.
Photo courtesy: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK