Ohio State football offseason roster tracker: Who is staying and leaving?

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra

This offseason promises a flurry of movement on Ohio State’s football roster.

Seniors can return in 2021 as a result of an NCAA blanket waiver that gives them an additional season of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions on transferring could soon be loosened, allowing players to more easily bolt for other teams.

Then there’s the expected handful of underclassmen who enter the NFL draft.

The Dispatch will track the Buckeyes’ players who are remaining with the team or leaving.

Jan. 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Jonathon Cooper (0) and offensive lineman Thayer Munford (75) walk off the field together after losing 52-24 to Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on January 11, 2021.

NFL draft early entrants

Shaun Wade, the All-American cornerback, became the first Ohio State underclassman to declare for the draft.

His announcement was followed later on Jan. 15 by center Josh Myers, who had anchored the Buckeyes’ offensive line for the past two seasons and was a Rimington Trophy finalist in 2020.

Quarterback Justin Fields and right guard Wyatt Davis announced plans to enter the draft on Jan. 18, the final day to file paperwork to the league for early entry to the draft. 

The number of early entrants reached five just before the declaration deadline as defensive tackle Tommy Togiai opted to turn pro.

Returning underclassmen

The Buckeyes' leading receiver, Chris Olave, will be back in 2021.

Tight end Jeremy Ruckert and defensive end Tyreke Smith also said on Jan. 18 they will hold off on entering the draft and return for their senior seasons.

Senior decisions

Five seniors from last season's teams — defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, running back Demario McCall, offensive tackle Thayer Munford and slot corner Marcus Williamson — are using the NCAA’s additional year of eligibility to remain with the Buckeyes in 2021.

Linebacker Baron Browning, defensive end Jonathon Cooper, punter Drue Chrisman, kicker Blake Haubeil, linebacker Justin Hilliard, running back Trey Sermon and Pete Werner have said they are forgoing their additional season of eligibility and leaving school. 

Outgoing transfers 

Wide receiver Mookie Cooper announced on Jan. 5 he was heading to Missouri, two weeks after putting his name in the NCAA transfer portal.  

Incoming Transfers

The Buckeyes brought in a graduate transfer in the last two offseasons, but no additions had been announced through mid-January.

Freshman recruiting class

Ohio State added 21 high school seniors to its 2021 recruiting class during the early signing period in December.

A few roster spots could be available when the second signing period begins on Feb. 3. The top remaining target for the Buckeyes is J.T. Tuimoloau, a defensive end from the Eastside of Seattle who is one of the top overall prospects in the class and has Ohio State included among his five finalists. 

Raesjon Davis, a four-star linebacker who de-committed from Louisiana State last month, is also on the Buckeyes' radar. Davis, who is the. No. 45 overall prospect in the class, is a southern California native.

They are also adding two preferred walk-ons between tight end Zak Herbstreit and center Toby Wilson.