Although speculation started much earlier, transfer portal season officially began Monday as a slew of players across the country entered their names into college football’s most weirdly-named resource to find a new home.
So far, two Ohio State players have entered the transfer portal, Teradja Mitchell and Jaylen Johnson, but more could definitely follow as the offseason plays itself out. In the meantime, Ohio State is focused on finishing 2023 recruiting strong a few weeks before the Early Signing Period on Dec. 21.
Part of that could be giving one of their best recruits assurances he needs before signing. On Friday, five-star Florida wideout Brandon Inniss told 247Sports it’s possible he may wait until February’s signing day to sign his national letter of intent to ensure Brian Hartline does not leave OSU. Hartline was rumored to have an interview with Cincinnati last week, but he shut down all speculation about his future on social media by posting a message saying he does not plan on leaving Ohio State. Cincinnati hired Louisville coach Scott Satterfield on Monday.
Nevertheless, Inniss continues to hear from other schools and told 247Sports he’s already heard from Colorado coach Deion Sanders. Despite the interest from other programs, Inniss’ decision to sign in February is likely more due diligence on his end than it is him pursuing other opportunities, as delaying his signing would give him ample time to see the coaching carousel play out and ensure Hartline is in Columbus for his freshman season. At this rate, it appears almost certain that will be the case.
“I just want to make sure,” Inniss told 247Sports. “Be 100 percent. I don’t want to leave any doubt. I mean crazy things happen in this world. It could change overnight. I just want to make sure because he’s the best in the nation.”
After the report published, Inniss took to Twitter to reassure fans he’s still locked in with Ohio State.
Dont get it twisted it still locked in!!— Brandon Inniss (@brandon5star2) December 3, 2022
Wilson reportedly to make a decision soon
The long recruitment of five-star 2023 five-star defensive end Damon Wilson could soon be nearing an end. Wilson told On3’s Chad Simmons that a decision is expected soon, and that he will make an announcement after having one last sitdown with his family. He also told Simmons he likely already knows the team he expects to pick when his decision becomes public.
Ohio State has pulled out all the stops for Wilson, hosting him on an official visit for the season opener, then having him on campus again for the Michigan game on Nov. 26. Ryan Day and Larry Johnson made a trip to Florida to see Wilson in October during the Buckeyes’ off week, and Johnson was back at Venice High School (Venice, Florida) last weekend for Wilson’s game, this time with OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
“They have a great d-line — staff and players,” Wilson told On3. “Even with that loss they have this year, I still think they’re a really good team with a great d-line coach.”
That said, Georgia has equally recruited Wilson, hosting him on multiple on-campus visits and making the trip to see the Florida prospect multiple times. While his recruitment has been a two-team race for a long time, Georgia may be the slight favorite ahead of Wilson’s decision.
Watkins commits to Colorado
Well, Coach Prime didn’t have to wait too long before making his first big splash in the class of 2025. Five-star Florida wide receiver and OSU target Winston Watkins Jr. announced his commitment to Colorado Sunday shortly before Sanders even started his introductory press conference in Boulder.
Watkins, the cousin of NFL wide receiver Sammy Watkins, is now on his second commitment, the previous being Texas A&M. The Florida prospect was the second player in the entire cycle to give a verbal commitment to a school.
Despite being committed to Texas A&M, Watkins continued to take visits to other schools, including Ohio State in June where he picked up his Buckeyes offer. There’s no reason OSU should be counted out of this recruitment either until he officially signs with Colorado years down the road. Watkins is considered the 13th-best prospect and the fourth-rated wide receiver in the 2025 class per 247Sports’ composite rankings.