Ohio State football lands Oklahoma State transfer safety Tanner McCalister
Former Oklahoma State safety Tanner McCalister is following Jim Knowles to Ohio State.
After putting his name in the transfer portal two weeks ago, McCalister will join the Buckeyes, reuniting him with Knowles who was recently hired as the program’s new defensive coordinator.
In a tweet announcing his decision on Wednesday afternoon, he wrote he’s “excited to begin this new journey.”
McCalister started for two seasons for the Cowboys and is arriving in Columbus with one season of eligibility remaining, using the extra year granted to players by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He finished with 42 tackles, one interception and six pass break-ups in 2021 as one of the key veteran pieces for a defense that ranked near the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
For a majority of his time at Oklahoma State, McCalister lined up in the slot in pass coverage, appearing in the role on 318 of the 696 snaps he saw on defense this past fall, according to data kept by Pro Football Focus.
He also saw time at free safety and contributed on special teams between kickoff coverage and field goal block.
McCalister's familiarity with Knowles' defense should help Ohio State, too, having spent four seasons in the system.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defensive back was a three-star recruit as a cornerback in the class of 2018 and is from Rockwall, Texas, the same hometown as Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Buckeyes’ record-setting receiver.
The addition of McCalister marked the second time since the end of the regular season that the Buckeyes have gone into the transfer portal to bolster their defense.
On Christmas, they picked up Arizona State transfer DeaMonte Trayanum, a former running back for the Sun Devils who will play linebacker at Ohio State.