Ohio State Linked to Julian Sayin After Five-Star Alabama Quarterback Enters Transfer Portal

By Dan Hope on January 19, 2024 at 1:57 pm
Julian Sayin

The No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 recruiting class is back on the market, and he could be eyeing Ohio State as a potential destination.

Julian Sayin, the top-ranked quarterback and No. 5 overall prospect in the 2024 class, entered the transfer portal on Friday, less than two weeks after enrolling at Alabama. His departure comes following the retirement of former Alabama coach Nick Saban and the new coaching staff’s decision to bring in former Washington quarterback Austin Mack as a transfer.

Since Sayin entered the transfer portal Friday morning, multiple reports have indicated that Ohio State could be the frontrunner to land Sayin if it pursues him. 247Sports’ Tom Loy said he would be placing a Crystal Ball in favor of Ohio State to land Sayin, and multiple other 247Sports writers have since followed Loy in predicting Sayin will be a Buckeye. On3’s Pete Nakos wrote that “the Buckeyes are viewed by many as the team to beat in this portal race.”

It remains uncertain whether Ohio State will actually pursue Sayin, given that it already signed a five-star quarterback from the 2024 class in Air Noland. The Buckeyes already have four scholarship quarterbacks on their 2024 roster – their target number at the position – after adding former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard to a roster that also includes redshirt sophomore Devin Brown, redshirt freshman Lincoln Kienholz and Noland. According to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong, Ohio State’s coaching staff will meet Saturday to decide whether it should pursue Sayin.

The Buckeyes made a run at flipping Sayin to Ohio State last year after the decommitment of Dylan Raiola – who was the No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 class when he committed to Ohio State, but was eventually jumped in the rankings by Sayin. Sayin was already committed to Alabama at that point, however, and Ohio State pivoted to pursuing Noland, landing his commitment in April.

Given a second chance at landing Sayin, Ryan Day and the Buckeyes must now decide whether his talent is too good to pass up.

Both Loy and Nakos also identified USC as a team to watch for Sayin.

The MVP of last year’s Elite 11 Finals, Sayin was considered by many to be the best pure passer in the 2024 class, demonstrating a consistent ability to throw the ball with accuracy and velocity to all areas on the field. In his four-year career at Carlsbad (California) High School, Sayin completed 70.6% of his passing attempts (511 of 724) for 7,970 yards and 86 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. He also showed the athleticism to extend plays and take off as a runner when needed, rushing for 605 yards and nine touchdowns across his four years.

Sayin still has all four years of collegiate eligibility and will be immediately eligible to play wherever he transfers in 2024. Howard is likely to start for the Buckeyes this season, but he is entering his final year of eligibility, setting up another competition for the starting job in 2025.

If Ohio State decides to pursue Sayin, its efforts could be aided by the hiring of new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien, who was involved in recruiting Sayin while he was Alabama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2021 and 2022.

The Buckeyes have already added one transfer from Alabama this offseason in former Crimson Tide center Seth McLaughlin. They are also among the teams pursuing former Alabama safety Caleb Downs and offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor, both sophomores who were five-star recruits in the 2023 class and started for the Crimson Tide as freshmen, with Downs earning national freshman of the year honors.

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