Ohio State football adds Syracuse transfer safety Ja'Had Carter
Ohio State added a valuable piece to its secondary on Tuesday when it picked up a commitment from Ja’Had Carter, a transfer safety from Syracuse.
Carter, who started for the Orange for three seasons before putting his name in the portal last month, announced his decision to transfer to the Buckeyes in a post on Twitter. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Several of the major recruiting services, including 247Sports and On3, rank Carter as the top available safety in the portal.
An honorable mention All-ACC selection this past season, he had three interceptions, broke up three passes and returned a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown against Clemson in October. The Orange’s pass defense was among the best in the nation, ranked No. 14 in the Football Bowl Subdivision, allowing 184.8 yards per game.
Carter’s experience, including 28 starts over his three seasons at Syracuse, puts him in place to make an immediate impact at a position of need for Ohio State.
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The Buckeyes have at least two starting spots opening in their secondary with the departures of Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister.
The bulk of Carter’s playing time last season came in the slot, where he lined up on 264 out of his 631 snaps, according to data from Pro Football Focus, making him a potential candidate to replace McCalister as the nickel safety. McCalister transferred last offseason, following defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State.
But Carter has also been at other safety spots as he played 152 snaps in the box and 106 snaps at free safety in 2022, as tracked by the analytics website. Hickman was the Buckeyes’ starting free safety this past fall, a position known as the “adjuster” in Knowles’ safety-driven scheme.
Syracuse listed Carter at 6 feet 2 and 198 pounds last season.
Before he joined the Orange in 2020, he attended Henrico High School in Richmond, Virginia, and Jireh Prep Academy in Matthews, North Carolina.
Carter is the second scholarship player the Buckeyes have picked up through the transfer portal over the last month, following Arizona State long snapper John Ferlmann. Kent State kicker Casey Magyar is also enrolling as a preferred walk-on.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.