Ohio State Defensive Tackle Jaden McKenzie Enters Transfer Portal

By Dan Hope on December 30, 2023 at 10:28 am
Jaden McKenzie

Jaden McKenzie is leaving Ohio State for his final year of collegiate eligibility.

McKenzie entered his name in the transfer portal on Saturday morning, just hours after Ohio State’s season-ending 14-3 loss to Missouri. He becomes the first Buckeye to enter the transfer portal following the Cotton Bowl.

Overall, McKenzie is Ohio State’s 15th scholarship player to enter the portal since the end of the regular season.

McKenzie’s decision to transfer comes as little surprise as the North Carolina native played only sparingly in five years at Ohio State. While McKenzie saw some action in the defensive tackle rotation early in the 2023 season, his role faded out by the end of the year as he played just 79 total defensive snaps, recording 10 total tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Even though Ohio State is still awaiting NFL draft decisions from Mike Hall, Tyleik Williams and Ty Hamilton, it seemed unlikely that McKenzie would play a substantial role for Ohio State as a sixth-year senior in 2024. More likely candidates to see increased playing time at defensive tackle next season include Hero Kanu, Kayden McDonald and Tywone Malone.

McKenzie joins a group of 2023 Buckeyes currently in the transfer portal that includes wide receiver Julian Fleming, tight end Joe Royer, cornerback Jyaire Brown and kicker Parker Lewis.

Former Buckeyes who have transferred to new teams since the end of the regular season include quarterback Kyle McCord (Syracuse), running backs Evan Pryor (Cincinnati) and Chip Trayanum (Kentucky), centers Victor Cutler Jr. (Louisville) and Jakob James (Toledo), defensive end Omari Abor (SMU), linebacker Reid Carrico (West Virginia), cornerback Ryan Turner (Boston College) and safeties Kye Stokes (Cincinnati) and Cameron Martinez (Boston College).

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