Which Players Would Ohio State Target if the NCAA Legalized Free Agency in College Football?

By David Regimbal on March 14, 2019 at 10:10 am
Rondale Moore

Let's get weird, y'all.

NFL free agency has dominated the sports news cycle over the last few days and it got your boy thinking. What if anarchy struck and the NCAA, long known for its organizational fluidity and open mindedness, went the lawless, wild west route and removed transfer restrictions for college football players?

Let's not get hung up in the details or problems this would create. Should there be a one-time-only free agency opportunity for every college football player? Are there certain teams some players would be blocked from joining? Do any restrictions exist for the amount of contact coaches could have with possible free agents? What about the 85 scholarship limit?

Those questions are for people who hate fun. If that's you, you're free to leave because I've already deposited the Internet click you gave me.

I put legitimate thought into who Ohio State and Ryan Day would go after. It's easy to say, "let's go cherry pick from Alabama and Clemson's starting rosters." Those players wouldn't want to make a lateral move. 

Ohio State already added a quarterback in Justin Fields and an offensive lineman in Jonah Jackson using the NCAA's boring, legal avenue. The five players highlighted below would be legitimate options because Ohio State could offer them a fresh start, more stability, a chance to compete for championships or a way out of a toxic program. 

Devon Hunter, Virginia Tech Safety

Ohio State needs depth and playmakers at the safety position. Last year's defense struggled at the safety spot opposite Jordan Fuller. It wasn't until the November matchup with Nebraska the Brendon White emerged and helped anchor the secondary.

With White seemingly moving to a hybrid linebacker position, the Buckeyes are in need of some safety help. They could go after Devon Hunter, the the No.3-rated safety from the 2017 class who committed to play at Virginia Tech.

Hunter hasn't found the field much in his first two seasons with the Hokies, and his coaches forced a redshirt on him last year to give him time to develop. Nothing has been published about any friction between Hunter and the coaching staff, but it would be worth  Day's time to extend him an opportunity to make a potential instant impact on a College Football Playoff contender.

J.J. Peterson, Tennessee Outside Linebacker

Similar to the safety position, Ohio State could use some help at linebacker after a disastrous 2018 season. The Buckeyes linebackers were consistently out of position on a weekly basis, and while that was primarily the result of bad defensive schemes, the unit could use an infusion of talent.

And Similar to Hunter at Virginia Tech, J.J. Peterson could be looking for a fresh start after redshirting at Tennessee last year.

The former 4-star standout from Moultrie, Georgia was rated the third-best outside linebacker in the 2018 class. The Buckeyes return all three starters from last year's unit, but they shouldn't turn down the opportunity to add the playmaking potential Peterson offers.

Marvin Wilson, Florida State Defensive Tackle

It's safe to assume there are a lot of unhappy players on the Florida State roster.

When top-tier recruits sent their letters of intent to Florida State, they probably didn't envision struggling through seven-loss seasons or playing for college football's version of Michael Scott from The Office.

If free agency in college football really existed, it'd be open season on the Seminoles roster.

The Buckeyes would have a lot of interest in two Seminoles (more on that later), highlighted by former 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.

Ohio State recruited Wilson hard out of high school but came up short in the end. A second chance to bring the interior linemen to Columbus would give Ohio State one of the most talented tackles in the country. Last season, Wilson recorded 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks, good enough to put him on All-American watch lists for the 2019 season.

Cam Akers, Florida State Running Back

Like Wilson, Cam Akers is another Seminoles player Ohio State recruited hard out of high school. Rated the No. 3 overall player in the overall player nationally, Akers had offers from pretty much every worthwhile school in the country, but he committed to play for Jimbo Fisher and Florida State.

Fisher left after Akers' freshman season in which he ran for 1,024 yards and registered eight total touchdowns. He wasn't as productive during his sophomore campaign with Taggart at the helm, but a lingering ankle sprain contributed to that as well.

With the early departure of Mike Weber and the transfer of Brian Snead, Ohio State needs depth at running back. We've already seen J.K. Dobbins thrive in a shared backfield, and Akers would come in and give the Buckeyes another lethal option to an already explosive offense.

Rondale Moore, Purdue Wide Receiver

Speaking of lethal options, the Buckeyes would have to take a run at the electric Purdue playmaker who ultimately crushed Ohio State's playoff run last season.

Rondale Moore was a 4-star prospect in the 2018 class, but there were 40 other receivers ranked ahead of him. He proved in his first season with the Boilermakers that he was drastically underrated, hauling in an insane 114 receptions to complement 1,471 total yards and 14 touchdowns. 

He already turned the Buckeyes down once, as he had a committable offer from Urban Meyer in 2018. Day should make one more push for the consensus All-American. 

Who would you want to see Day and the Buckeyes go after? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. 

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