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Ohio Bobcats Class of 2023 Transfer Portal Rundown

There will be nearly a dozen new names on campus for the Bobcats while fans said good-bye to seven others.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Ole Miss at Vanderbilt Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The perceived issue surrounding the Transfer Portal is that Power Five programs can just go in and poach Group of Five stars, leaving them with nothing. For some programs, this is a reality. Ohio has been hit hard by Portal departures over the past few years but they’ve re-tooled their roster by adding P5 guys who were buried on their depth charts.

MAC programs deal with this reality daily. Ohio has certainly benefited by adding guys like Sam Wiglusz, James Bostic, and Zach Sanders. At the same time, they also lost guys like Isiah Cox and Shane Hooks to FCS programs.

For this cycle, the Bobcats lost seven players while welcoming 11 thus far. Oddly enough, the Bobcats didn’t lose any talent on offense.

The Departures

  • DL Kylen McCracken (Marshall)

After four years in the Ohio program, Kylen McKracken has elected to transfer a little south to Marshall. McCraken played sparingly in his first two years but took a step forward in 2021. In six games, McCraken notched a career-best 15 tackles and added half of a TFL.

In 2022, McCracken appeared in 10 games but was not nearly as productive. He only managed eight tackles and added a pass breakup. In total, he finished with 33 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and a sack.

  • DL Denzel Daxon (Illinois)

Denzel Daxon spent four years on campus for the Ohio Bobcats. After not appearing in any action in his first two years, Daxon became a regular piece of the rotation in 2021. In 12 games, Daxon managed eight tackles, two for loss, and a sack. In 2022, he appeared in another 12 games and added three tackles.

  • LB Cannon Blauser (South Dakota [FCS])

After thoroughly dominating the Ohio high school football scene, Cannon Blauser spent four years at Ohio. In his first two seasons, Blauser made five appearances and logged a pair of tackles in the game against Bowling Green in 2020. Then, he broke out in 2021. Blauser appeared in all 12 games for the Bobcats and finished second on the team with 86 tackles and led the way with 9.5 TFLs.

In 2022, Blauser again appeared in all 12 games but accounted for 33 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and a sack.

  • LB Kyle Kelly (Eastern Kentucky [FCS])

Another player in that 2019 recruiting class has hit the portal. In his first three years on campus, Kyle Kelly appeared in eight games, amassing a total of 16 tackles. In 2022, Kelly played in all 12 games for Bobcats and finished with 29 tackles, 3.5 TFLS, and half of a sack. He also added a pair of pass breakups for good measure.

  • SAF Jamison Collier (East Tennesee State [FCS])

The Bobcats’ 2020 leader in tackles is taking his talents to the FCS level. In five years on campus, Jamison Collier appeared in 22 games. In those 22 games, he accounted for 49 tackles. After leading the way in 2020 with 19 tackles, Collier added 26 in 2021 but was held off of the stat sheet in 2022 while appearing in just two games.

  • SAF Tyler Mullins (UT-Martin [FCS])

Initially going the JUCO route out of high school, Tyler Mullins spent 2022 with Ohio. Prior to playing with the Bobcats, Mullins spent time at Coffeyville Community College. While you would not have seen him on Last Chance U, Mullins earned Second-Team All-KJCCC honors. At Ohio, he appeared in just five games and logged three tackles.

  • K Nathanial Vakos (Wisconsin)

It’s one-and-done for Nathanial Vakos. Vakos came to Ohio a decorated kicker from Avon, Ohio and earned his spot as the Bobcats’ number one kicker. In just one season of work, Vakos converted 49-of-50 extra points and 22-of-27 field goals. He kicked off his career by making his first eight field goal attempts and accounted for four made field goals in the win over Western Michigan. His long on the year was a 55-yarder in that win with six seconds to go in the first half.

New Faces in Town

  • WR Jailen Hammer (Butte College [JUCO])

The offers just were not there for dynamic receiver Jailen Hammer out of high school so he went the JUCO route to Butte College. In his first year, he played sparingly. In seven appearances, Hammer hauled in eight passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. In 2022, he broke out. In the team’s 10 games, Hammer went off for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns off of just 42 receptions. His longest touchdown on the year was 77 yards. Hammer looks to be a fun addition to this already explosive offense.

He comes to Ohio with two years of eligibility remaining.

  • WR Christian Hilton (The Citadel [FCS])

It’s not often the leading receiver opts to leave a program. It’s even more when that leading receiver was a true freshman. After one year at The Citadel, Christian Hilton is “coming home” to Ohio to further bolster a strong wide receiver room. Perhaps part of the motivation to leave was to get away from the run-heavy offense military academies are traditionally known to run, with Hilton accounting for 270 yards and a pair of scores for the Bulldogs.

Hilton brings with him three years of eligibility.

  • WR/TE Jack Kenneally (Youngstown State [FCS])

Size and versatility are key in today’s game and Jack Kenneally will bring just that. While he has yet to appear in a collegiate football game, Kenneally was a standout at Elyria Catholic High School in Ohio. His senior year in high school finished with 904 yards and 12 touchdowns off of 50 receptions.

He has three years of eligibility remaining.

  • OT Ches Jackson (Colorado State)

Green must be Ches Jackon’s favorite color because he is going from one green at Colorado State to another (superior) green at Ohio. The former Ram lined up at right tackle for his five years in the Mountain West. For the first three years, Jackson appeared in 10 games and started in the team’s final six games. Last year, however, Jackson only appeared in three games with one start.

Ohio gets him for his final year of eligibility.

  • IOL Dane Jackson (North Texas)

After ending his high school career as the 17th-best player at his position in his home state of Kentucky, Dane Jackson took his talents to North Texas. Jackson’s best football is ahead of him. Or, at the very least, it has to be because he has played quite sparingly in three years in college. As a member of the Mean Green, Jackson appeared in five games over the last two years after not appearing at all in his true freshman season in 2020.

Jackson comes to Athens with three years left of collegiate eligibility.

  • DL Kwame Sutton (Austin Peay [FCS])

Another FCS-to-Ohio transfer, Kwame Sutton comes to Athens from Austin Peay. He spent five years with the Governors and appeared in 47 games and accounted for 117 tackles, 20 TFLs, and 10 sacks. Last year, Sutton even added a pair of forced fumbles. He’s coming off of a season where he set career bests in all stats except for total tackles.

Sutton comes to Ohio with a year of eligibility remaining and factors to be a quality member of the defensive line.

  • DL Tristan Cox (Purdue)

A fairly popular recruit out of high school with a number of Power Five options, Tristan Cox comes to Ohio from Purdue. As a freshman, Cox appeared in just two games, maintaining his redshirt status. Last year, Cox appeared in five games. To date, he has yet to record any counting stat.

He has three years of eligibility remaining.

  • EDGE Kaci Seegars (Liberty)

After two years with Liberty, Kaci Seegars will be joining the Ohio Bobcats this season. Initially a member of the Texas A&M 2021 recruiting class, Seegars de-committed and went with Liberty instead. Back in his original recruiting cycle, Ohio offered Seegars so they’ll finally be getting him after a little time has passed. He appeared in just two games as a freshman and did not see the field last year.

Seegars will have three years of eligibility for the Bobcats.

  • CB Miles Fleming (Minnesota)

The Columbus native initially went to Minnesota for his college career but he’s since moved a bit closer to home. After not appearing in any games as a freshman in 2020, Fleming appeared in the team’s first three games in 2021 before being lost due to injury. Last year, he appeared in just four games, mostly as a member of special teams.

Ohio gets Fleming with three years of eligibility remaining.

  • SAF Walter Reynolds (Holy Cross [FCS])

One of the more experienced players in the Transfer Portal as a whole, Walter Reynolds is on his way to Ohio from Holy Cross. After redshirting in 2018, Reynolds was a stalwart in the Holy Cross secondary. In total, he played in 41 games and racked up 175 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 10 interceptions, and another 30 pass deflections.

Reynolds has just one year of eligibility remaining.

  • P Jared Wheatley (Vanderbilt)

Talk about a lateral move: Jared Wheatley transfers from the SEC to the MAC after four years of time spent at Vanderbilt. All jokes aside, in four years, Wheatley appeared in just one game in 2020 against Ole Miss. In that game, he launched five punts for 166 yards with a long of 55 and four punts downed within the 20.

In all that time, Wheatley should have two years of eligibility remaining.