After the contributions Justin Fields and Jonah Jackson made for Ohio State last season, it's impossible to ignore the transfer portal. The Buckeyes haven't added any scholarship players from the transfer portal this offseason yet, but with injuries at running back and a lack of depth in the secondary, it could still be a route for Ohio State to explore if a roster spot opens up later this offseason.
Coming into the offseason, the secondary was one of the thinnest position groups in Columbus as the Buckeyes would have to replace three starters. With the dismissals of Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint, Ohio State is down two more veterans with substantial playing experience.
Ohio State's other big position of need is in the backfield. With Master Teague and Marcus Crowley both currently sidelined by injuries, the Buckeyes could dip into the portal to try and compensate for the loss of J.K. Dobbins.
The Buckeyes are currently at 86 scholarships for the 2020 season, including C.J. Saunders if he receives a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, so they don't have a roster spot to add any transfers right now. If that changes, though, there are a few players currently in the portal that could help Ohio State this season.
Meiko Dotson (CB - Florida Atlantic)
A native of Daytona Beach, Meiko Dotson had a long journey to get back home. After signing his letter of intent to Georgia Tech in 2015, he transferred to Garden City Community College before arriving at Florida Atlantic in 2018. After finishing the 2019 season with an 11-3 record as a member of the Owls, Dotson has opted to enter the portal as a graduate transfer.
Dotson was just a two-star recruit coming out of junior college, but he's developed into one of the most exciting names in the transfer portal right now. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Dotson is a speedster with excellent ball skills; he led the nation with nine interceptions last season as a redshirt junior.
Although he has technically never started a game in his collegiate career, Dotson's production speaks for itself, which also included 30 tackles and 12 passes defended last season in addition to his nine picks.
In Ohio State's new defense, cornerbacks have been asked to play a variety of coverages. Dotson has experience both outside and in the slot and can play in both zone and man-to-man coverages. He could be a great addition to the Silver Bullets and Kerry Coombs' secondary.
Nick McCloud (CB - North Carolina State)
With Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette both now on their way to the NFL, Ohio State could use another lengthy outside cornerback. Nick McCloud, a graduate transfer from N.C. State, could fit that bill.
McCloud, a 6-foot-1 cornerback, redshirted last season with the Wolfpack after an injury in the first week of the season. He started 21 games in his N.C. State career and was named a team captain last year. McCloud was fourth on the team in tackles as a junior and recorded 20 pass breakups in Raleigh, often following his opponent's best receiver and pressing him at the line of scrimmage.
Although he was just a three-star recruit coming out of high school, McCloud has recorded over 1,400 snaps as part of a Power Five team. He was one of the most reliable cornerbacks in the ACC and has the physicality to challenge any receiver. As a graduate transfer, McCloud could potentially step in right away as a starter opposite Shaun Wade, though he'd have to compete with Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown, among others.
Sampson James (RB - Indiana)
With only one currently healthy scholarship running back in Steele Chambers, the Bucks could certainly use some depth at the position. Sampson James, a former Ohio State commit and four-star recruit, was a prime transfer target for the Buckeyes before withdrawing from the transfer portal earlier today.
Sampson James is back with the IU football team, per a source. Had entered the transfer portal earlier this week, withdrew this morning. #iufb— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) March 6, 2020
The Indiana native was was originally the third commit of Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class. James was the Hoosiers' second-leading rusher in 2019 with 275 yards on 81 attempts.
Per 247's recruiting rankings, James was the third-highest rated running back in the transfer market. After his withdrawal, the top remaining tailbacks in the portal include Ricky Slade and Cordarrian Richardson.