Former Alabama Center Seth McLaughlin Transfers to Ohio State

By Dan Hope on January 6, 2024 at 10:22 am
Seth McLaughlin

Ohio State has added a veteran offensive lineman from the transfer portal.

Seth McLaughlin, who started 25 games at center for Alabama over the past three years, announced his commitment to Ohio State on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman from Buford, Georgia, started all 14 games at center this past season for the Crimson Tide, helping Alabama make a run to the College Football Playoff. McLaughlin started eight of Alabama’s final nine games in 2022 as well as the Crimson Tide’s final three games in 2021, which included an SEC Championship Game win over eventual national champion Georgia and a pair of CFP games.

The McLaughlin File

  • Year: Fifth-Year Senior
  • Size: 6-4/305
  • Pos: C
  • Previous School: Alabama (2020-23)
  • Stats: 25 starts at center from 2021-23

McLaughlin’s departure from Alabama came after he struggled in the Crimson Tide’s playoff semifinal loss to Michigan. The center drew scrutiny after numerous inaccurate snaps in the Rose Bowl, including a low snap on the final play of the game that led to Jalen Milroe being stopped on 4th-and-goal.

That said, McLaughlin brings valuable experience to Ohio State’s interior offensive line, where the Buckeyes could be looking for multiple new starters. While left guard Donovan Jackson remains a candidate to return for his senior season, right guard Matt Jones has exhausted his eligibility and center Carson Hinzman was benched for the Cotton Bowl.

McLaughlin made all of his starts at Alabama as a center but could theoretically also contribute at guard if he is not the starting center. It’s expected that he will compete with Hinzman and Joshua Padilla for Ohio State’s starting center job this offseason, when he’ll need to prove he can be consistently relied upon as a snapper.

As a blocker, McLaughlin graded out well for most of his Alabama career. He received overall grades of 73.2 in 2021 and 74.3 in 2022 from Pro Football Focus, though his overall grade dipped to 59.4 in 2023.

McLaughlin is ranked by 247Sports as a four-star transfer prospect and the second-best interior offensive lineman to enter the portal this offseason. Originally a three-star recruit in the class of 2020, McLaughlin redshirted as a true freshman at Alabama before playing three seasons for the Crimson Tide, while he also has the extra year of eligibility all players received in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaughlin is a product of Buford High School, the same high school as former Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller and incoming freshman defensive end Eddrick Houston.

He’s the third player to join the Buckeyes via the transfer portal this offseason. All three additions so far have come on the offensive side of the ball, where Ohio State is also bringing in former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard and former Ohio tight end Will Kacmarek.

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