Ohio State has added another kicker through the transfer portal.
Former USC kicker Parker Lewis, who made 17 of his 22 field goal attempts and had touchbacks on 27 of his 34 kickoffs for the Trojans last season, announced his commitment to Ohio State on Friday.
Lewis, who was ranked as the No. 7 kicker in the recruiting class of 2020, has three remaining years of eligibility thanks to the additional year all players received due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
He becomes the second kicker to transfer to Ohio State in a two-year span, joining former UNC kicker Noah Ruggles, who joined the Buckeyes last year and was a Lou Groza Award finalist after making 20 of his 21 field goal attempts in 2021.
Ruggles is expected to be back with the Buckeyes this fall even though he did not participate in spring practices. Lewis, however, will likely replace Ruggles on kickoffs, where Ruggles had only 21 touchbacks on 99 attempts last season.
The Lewis File
- Year: Junior
- Size: 6-3, 220
- Pos: K
- School: USC (2020-21), Saguaro HS
- HS Rating: ★★★
- HS Rank: #2191 (#7 K)
- Stats at USC: 26-35 FG, 46-47 XP, 49 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs
While it’s likely Ruggles will retain field-goal kicking duties for the upcoming season, Lewis said he expects to get a chance to compete for that job, as well.
“What they said is, 'This wouldn't be Ohio State if we played favorites,'” Lewis told Eleven Warriors earlier this month. “So they obviously are interested in me doing kickoffs, but I'm very interested in having the field goal job as well ... If I end up going to Ohio State, it'll mean I feel like I could win that job.”
Ohio State was the first school to contact Lewis when he entered the transfer portal in December.
Lewis is a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, where he played with current Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke at Saguaro High School. Lewis has also had a longtime friendship with former Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil, giving Lewis confidence that playing for the Buckeyes and special teams coordinator Parker Fleming will be a good fit for him.
“Coach Fleming is more of like a family feel,” Lewis said when asked why he thought Ohio State would be a better fit for him than USC. “They have it down pat for sure at Ohio State. I love their system and how they operate and manage their specialists.”
Lewis plans to arrive at Ohio State in May.
Ohio State has now landed two transfers from USC in the past 12 months, as former Trojans linebacker Palaie Gaoteote joined the Buckeyes last summer. Lewis becomes the third transfer to join the Buckeyes this offseason, following former Arizona State linebacker Chip Trayanum and former Oklahoma State safety Tanner McCalister.
With Lewis’ arrival, Ohio State now has three scholarship kickers on its roster: Lewis, Ruggles and redshirt sophomore Jake Seibert, who did not kick in any games for the Buckeyes last season.
The addition of Lewis brings Ohio State back up to the limit of 85 scholarship players for the 2022 season as of Friday afternoon, two days before the deadline for players to enter the transfer portal and remain eligible to play this season.