Seth McLaughlin, Alabama’s former starting center, is transferring to Ohio State, he announced Saturday.
McLaughlin made 25 career starts with the Crimson Tide before entering the transfer portal earlier this week following a loss to Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal Rose Bowl.
Fourteen of his starts came last season, while he starts eight times in 2022 and three times in 2021. He has one season of eligibility remaining.
Errant snaps emerged as an issue for McLaughlin last year, including several snaps against the Wolverines.
The last one proved particularly costly. On fourth-and-goal in overtime, as Alabama trailed by a touchdown, quarterback Jalen Miller’s snap was low, causing him to slide into the grass for a split second and delaying the draw. Miller was soon stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
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But McLaughlin was otherwise a fairly capable blocker for the Crimson Tide, especially in pass protection. Pro Football Focus credited him with allowing only one sack over the past three seasons.
Adding a veteran presence to the interior of the offensive line, he could replace Carson Hinzman as its anchor next season.
Hinzman started as a redshirt freshman at center, but struggled at times and was replaced by right guard Matt Jones after Ohio State’s 14–3 loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl last week. However, Jones was not a long-term solution. A sixth-year senior, he has exhausted his eligibility.
It is also possible that if McLaughlin forgoes his remaining year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft he could be a replacement for Jones at right guard or Donovan Jackson at left guard. Jackson has not announced any decisions. While all of McLaughlin’s starts have been at center, he is considered versatile enough to play multiple positions on the interior of the line.
McLaughlin was the nation’s No. 10 center prospect, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, when he signed with Alabama as part of the recruiting class for 2020. He succeeded former Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller as the starting center out of Buford High School. Atlanta in 2019.
This is the third transfer the Buckeyes have made this week, following the commitments of Kansas State quarterback Will Howard and Ohio tight end Will Kakamarek.
The Buckeyes turned to Portal last offseason to fill holes on the offensive line, with mixed results. Josh Simmons, who transferred from San Diego State after spring practice, emerged as their starting left tackle, while Vic Cutler, who came from Louisiana-Monroe, was edged out by Hinzman for the starting center spot and returned to Portal in November. Entered.
But none of them were as experienced as McLaughlin.
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for the Columbus Dispatch and can be reached at email@example.com.