Meechie Johnson Viewed As Candidate to Transfer Back to Ohio State After Entering Portal for Second Time

By Andy Anders on March 26, 2024 at 3:57 pm
Meechie Johnson
Steve Roberts – USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina's brightest star could be making a return to Columbus.

Former Ohio State-turned-Gamecock guard Meechie Johnson officially entered the transfer portal on Tuesday. The Buckeyes have already been linked to the four-star prospect from the class of 2020.

Johnson didn't get off the ground much at Ohio State, playing less than six minutes per game in his first season and 17.7 in his second as a Buckeye. That latter campaign featured just 4.4 points and 1.2 assists per game for the point guard, who shot a measly 30.8% from the field.

The Cleveland native transferred to Columbia after that 2021-22 season and became an immediate star. He posted 12.7 points and a team-high 3.6 assists per game, a rare bright spot during an 11-21 season for South Carolina.

In 2023-24, Johnson took over as the team's leading scorer with 14.1 points per contest, adding 2.9 assists per game. He shot the best percentage from the field of his career at 39.9%. With Johnson leading the way, South Carolina took a giant leap to a 26-8 campaign under Lamont Paris, though the sixth-seeded Gamecocks were upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by 11th-seeded Oregon.

After his decision to enter the portal, Johnson went live on Instagram to say it's “all love” to South Carolina but said “I've gotta do what's best for me and my family.” He mentioned he hasn't talked to any other schools yet as of Monday.

Since news that Johnson intended to enter the portal hit the web, one of Ohio State's NIL collectives has already started actively recruiting him. The Foundation and one of its co-founders, former OSU national champion quarterback Cardale Jones, both sent tweets on Monday teasing the possibility of Johnson returning to Ohio State – which collectives are allowed to do now that the NCAA has been legally prohibited from enforcing its ban on collectives using NIL to recruit players to schools.

Adding Johnson would put Ohio State's backcourt in an interesting position for 2024-25. Point guard Bruce Thornton and shooting guard Roddy Gayle Jr. are likely to return as starters after averaging 15.1 and 13.6 points per game. All three players would command a major role, but none feel like a fit on the wing unless Jake Diebler is interested in playing a very small lineup. Gayle is the tallest of the bunch at 6-4.

That said, Johnson would give the Buckeyes another proven scorer with two years of proven experience as a double-digit scorer in the SEC under his belt.

Whichever school Johnson chooses as his final collegiate destination, he'll have one year of eligibility remaining to make an impact.

View 69 Comments