For the second time this offseason, Ohio State has added a highly coveted transfer who could play a key role for the Buckeyes' offense this upcoming season.
Jonah Jackson, who spent the past four years at Rutgers and was both a starter and a captain for the Scarlet Knights' offensive line last season, is joining Ohio State as a graduate transfer, he confirmed in a tweet on Monday afternoon.
— Jonah Jackson (@Jackson77Jonah) February 25, 2019
Lettermen Row's Austin Ward was the first to report the news.
Jackson also visited Oklahoma earlier this month, but ultimately decided that Ohio State was the place for him to go.
“Ohio State just felt like the perfect fit,” Jackson told Lettermen Row. “I enjoyed my time tremendously on my short visit there and bonded with players really well. Also, the relationship I’ve been able to establish with the coaches is awesome, and I trust in the plan that they have set forth.
“It’s crazy I had the opportunity. It’s been a great time, but it’s time to get to work.”
A 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman from Media, Pennsylvania, Jackson was the Scarlet Knights' starting right guard last season and was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention.
247Sports ranked Jackson as the No. 5 player on the transfer market this year.
Given that, Jackson is expected to compete for a starting spot on Ohio State's 2019 offensive line – and it's hard to imagine he would have chosen to become a Buckeye if he wasn't assured he would have every opportunity to win one of the open jobs up front.
With all three starters from last season's interior offensive line now gone, Jackson could potentially be a candidate to start at either guard or center. Guard seems like the most obvious fit, where Wyatt Davis is expected to start at one spot but the other spot could be wide open, with Josh Myers expected to start at center.
That said, Jackson also has experience playing center – starting five games at the position as a redshirt sophomore in 2017 – and in each of Greg Studrawa's first three seasons as Ohio State's offensive line, the Buckeyes have moved a guard with starting experience (Pat Elflein, Billy Price, Michael Jordan) to the apex spot on the offensive line. Branden Bowen would be the most likely candidate to start opposite Davis at guard if Jackson moves to center.
Either way, Jackson should add crucial experience and veteran leadership to an offensive line that returns just one starter from last season (left tackle Thayer Munford), while solidifying the depth on the interior offensive line, where Davis, Bowen, Myers and Gavin Cupp are the only other players on the roster with collegiate playing experience.
Jackson is the second player to join the Buckeyes from the transfer portal this offseason, joining former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields, who is expected to start for the Buckeyes at that position as long as he receives a legislative relief waiver from the NCAA.
Because Jackson is a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately without needing to request a waiver from the NCAA. He will not be eligible to participate in spring practice, however, since he is not enrolled at Ohio State for the spring semester.
Jackson and the Buckeyes will return to his former school on Nov. 16, when they play Rutgers in their 10th game of the 2019 season.