Ohio State football safety Lathan Ransom to return in 2023
Ohio State will have at least one returning starting safety for next fall.
Lathan Ransom, who started nine games as the strong safety this past season, is returning to school, putting off entering the NFL draft after being eligible for the first time. His father, Nathan, confirmed his return in a text message with The Dispatch on Monday, the deadline for underclassmen to file paperwork for early entry into the draft.
Ransom overcame a broken leg to break out as a junior, a gruesome injury suffered while covering a kickoff in last year’s Rose Bowl win over Utah, and stepped up as one of the most productive players on an improved defense under new coordinator Jim Knowles.
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He finished with 74 tackles, the third-most among the Buckeyes’ defenders behind only run-stuffing linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers, and was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
Ransom’s rapid recovery from his left leg fracture put him in a position to make an impact. He was cleared to practice for the start of preseason training camp in August, where he moved up the depth chart.
By the time Ohio State opened its season against Notre Dame, he remained a backup behind Josh Proctor, but began to see more snaps in their rotation. Ransom made his first start for the final non-conference game against Toledo two weeks later and took over for Proctor as the full-time starter in October.
According to data from Pro Football Focus, only Eichenberg, Chambers and fellow safety Ronnie Hickman played more snaps on defense for the Buckeyes in 2022.
Ohio State depth chart gets a boost with Lathan Ransom returning
The return of Ransom is a boost for Ohio State’s defense as Hickman and Tanner McCalister, the other safeties who started alongside him in the secondary, are leaving. Hickman had remaining eligibility as a redshirt junior, while McCalister had been a “super senior” after transferring from Oklahoma State for his extra year.
The Buckeyes previously cushioned those departures earlier this month with the addition of Syracuse transfer Ja’Had Carter, who was a play-making safety over three seasons starting for the Orange and was the top-ranked player available in the portal.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.