College Football Transfer: Caleb Downs chooses Ohio State over Georgia

Caleb Downs has established himself as a versatile and well-rounded safety prospect since joining the Alabama football squad. His performance on the field consistently impresses football enthusiasts, demonstrating his ability to make game-changing plays on offense and defense.

However, the college football scene is constantly changing, and the retirement of Nick Saban, the former coach of Alabama, has sparked notable activity in the player transfer portal. One player who has been making the most of this opportunity is Downs, as he has made a smart and calculated decision.

Caleb Downs chooses Ohio State over Georgia

The NCAA rule allowing players to enter the transfer portal within 30 days of a coaching change has paved the way for Caleb Downs to explore new opportunities. As the top-ranked recruit in the transfer portal, he then decided to join Ohio State. It is going to present an enticing prospect for the Buckeyes’ coaching staff.

Downs’ move to Ohio State was solidified after an in-home visit with him and his family, providing the coaching staff with a valuable opportunity to showcase the program’s strengths and secure the commitment of this talented defender.

The catalyst behind Downs’ transfer to Ohio State lies in Saban’s retirement from coaching at Alabama. This retirement triggered a 30-day window for Alabama players to make themselves eligible for transfers. In this unique scenario, Downs seized the chance to explore new horizons and continue his college football journey with the Buckeyes.

During his time at Alabama, the 6-foot defender exhibited his defensive prowess, amassing impressive statistics in the 2023 season. His contributions included 107 tackles, 3 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble, two interceptions, and four punt returns for 87 yards, including a touchdown. 

He is the first true freshman in program history to record 107 tackles, per ESPN. Notably, he was recognized as the SEC Freshman of the Year, solidifying his status as one of the league’s standout defensive backs.

What does it mean for Georgia?

Georgia and Ohio State were close contenders for Caleb Downs, who had official visits to Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Notre Dame throughout his recruitment. The Bulldogs were seen as the favorites when Downs entered the transfer portal. However, he surprised everyone by choosing Ohio State over Georgia, adding an unexpected twist to the decision.

The defender, who led Alabama in tackles last season, garnered accolades as a second-team All-American from the Associated Press and The Sporting News. His decision to commit to Ohio State has left many Georgia fans disappointed, as acquiring a player of Downs’ caliber would have undoubtedly been a significant boost for the Bulldogs.

While the true impact of Downs’ decision remains to be seen on the field, fans are expressing their belief that this move is a missed opportunity for Georgia. The Bulldogs were poised to have a new face in the starting lineup at safety in 2024, and Downs could have been a game-changer. He could elevate the team’s roster and provide valuable development time for other players.

Georgia’s safety room faced challenges this offseason, with departures announced by Javon Bullard and Tykee Smith, both headed to the NFL. In this case, Downs could have filled a crucial role, addressing the void left by these departures and fortifying Georgia’s defense.

As Ohio State celebrates the acquisition of a standout defensive talent, Georgia now faces the task of regrouping and addressing the challenges in their safety room. Nevertheless, Downs will undoubtedly be closely watched throughout the upcoming season for the impact of this surprising transfer choice.

Shabiha Akter

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Shabiha, once a casual observer, has morphed into a die-hard NFL fan. She carefully dissects every play, trade, and strategy. Whether it's breaking down game highlights or predicting playoff outcomes, Shabiha is your go-to source for all things NFL.


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