Sayin entered the NCAA transfer portal Friday in the wake of Nick Saban’s retirement from Alabama. He is ESPN’s No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2024 and the top offensive prospect in his recruiting class.
He plans to enroll at Ohio State soon and will participate in the Buckeyes’ spring practice. Sayin left Alabama after enrolling there in early January. Saban retired soon after Sayin’s arrival.
“Incredibly excited to join the team here at Ohio State,” Sayin told ESPN on Sunday. “I held this program in high regard throughout my entire recruiting process and am looking forward to learning from some of the most talented players and coaches in college football and contributing to our team’s success.”
Sayin has experience with the Ohio State staff and a relationship with new Buckeyes coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien from his high school recruiting process. O’Brien had been part of Sayin’s early recruitment to Alabama. (O’Brien left for the Patriots for the 2023 season before getting hired at Ohio State last week.)
Sayin thanked his family for its support, as his hectic January will now feature him moving to a second city more than 1,000 miles from Southern California. He played high school football in Carlsbad, near San Diego.
“My family has been so supportive and sacrificed so much throughout my football journey,” he said. “I’m so proud and grateful to share this moment with them.”
Sayin will join a strong quarterback room at Ohio State that includes former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, who brings 27 starts with his transfer as he enters his final college season. Devin Brown will be entering his third season in 2024, Lincoln Kienholz will be entering his second season, and Air Noland enters his first season. Last year’s starter, Kyle McCord, transferred to Syracuse.
The addition of Sayin continues an offseason of significant change for the Buckeyes, who finished the 2023 regular season with a loss to Michigan — their third straight vs. the Wolverines — followed by a loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.
Ohio State has added three of the top players in the transfer portal: Sayin, freshman All-America safety Caleb Downs and two-time All-SEC tailback Quinshon Judkins. They also upgraded the offensive line with Alabama center Seth McLaughlin.
The Buckeyes also returned multiple players who projected as NFL draft prospects at the start of the 2023 season, including wide receiver Emeka Egbuka, tailback TreVeyon Henderson and guard Donovan Jackson.
Ohio State finished last season 11-2 after starting 11-0 for the second consecutive year. Ohio State lost to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals in 2022.
The addition of Sayin puts Ohio State in the rare position of having two high-end freshman quarterbacks in the same class.
Noland is ESPN’s No. 31 overall recruit in 2024 and the No. 2 pocket passer, while Sayin is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback.
Sayin, who is 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, threw for 2,369 yards, 24 touchdowns and just one interception as a high school senior in Carlsbad. He was the MVP of the Elite 11 finals in 2023, prior to his senior year of high school.
He finished his high school career with 7,824 passing yards, 85 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
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