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Julian Sayin transfers to Ohio State: Former five-star Alabama signee adds to Buckeyes’ loaded QB room

Former Alabama signee Julian Sayin is transferring to Ohio State247Sports reports. Sayin initially signed with Alabama in December and went through bowl practices as the Crimson Tide prepared for their College Football Playoff semifinal showdown against Michigan but elected to enter the transfer portal in January when legendary coach Nick Saban announced his retirement. 

247Sports notes that Sayin is already on campus at Ohio State and will go through spring practice with the Buckeyes. He will be eligible to play immediately since he entered the portal within 30 days of Alabama’s coaching change. 

The No. 1 quarterback and No. 6 overall prospect in 247Sports’ transfer rankings, Sayin was heavily recruited by the Buckeyes as a five-star player out of Carlsbad (California) High School. He committed to Alabama in Nov. 2022 but earned an offer from Ohio State a couple months later and took a handful of visits to Columbus while going through the high school recruiting process. 

“They were actually No. 2 for him,” Carlsbad coach Thad MacNeal told 247Sports. “They were actually a close second and he visited at least two times that I know of. He loved Ryan Day and the offense and how quarterback friendly he is. Ohio State has done a great job developing quarterbacks there and Julian really likes (Brian) Hartline (WR coach) too. He was involved recruiting Julian and they always have a great WR room at Ohio State and that’s obviously a huge deal if you’re a quarterback.”

Sayin was the No. 21 prospect nationally in the class of 2024 and earned California Gatorade Player of the Year honors throwing for 2,347 yards and 24 touchdowns to just one interception. He was also named MVP at the Elite 11 Finals and participated in the Under Armour All-America Game. 

Ohio State flipping QB room

Sayin is the third high-profile quarterback to join Ohio State’s roster this offseason. The Buckeyes signed four-star Air Noland, the No. 6 quarterback in 2024, in December and secured a commitment from four-star Kansas State transfer Will Howard

Howard seems like the heir apparent to Ohio State’s starting spot after the Buckeyes lost Kyle McCord to the transfer portal. Howard was a part-time starter over his first three seasons at Kansas State but took sole possession of the job in 2023, amassing an 8-4 record while throwing for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. 

While he doesn’t fit the profile of a stereotypical Ohio State quarterback — his 7.4 yards per attempt from 2023 are almost two yards below average among quarterbacks since Day took over in 2019 — Howard does bring the gritty, hard-nosed style of football that Day has emphasized recently. He’s a punishing runner with his 6-foot-5 and 242-pound frame and he finished the season by grinding out 351 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. 

Howard also has just one year of eligibility remaining, so the job will be wide open after the 2024 season. That gives both Noland and Sayin an opportunity to develop without any pressure to step up as a true freshmen, barring injury. The Buckeyes will then have a fascinating quarterback competition as the athletic calendar turns to 2025. 

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