No. 1 prep QB Bolts 'Bama for Buckeyes

Julian Sayin on the move
Julian Sayin on the move

As we were Sayin...

 

Former Carlsbad (CA) football sensation Julian Sayin, who ascended to No. 1 quarterback in the 2024 prep class ratings by NFLDraftScout.com,  quickly completed his trip through the transfer portal Sunday when he chose Ohio State, as predicted here, Friday.

 

“Yes, I am extremely excited to officially join the Ohio State Buckeyes,” Sayin confirmed Sunday to NFLDraftScout.com, which has him listed No. 5 overall, one spot ahead of former Buford (Ga.) quarterback Dylan Raiola who recently jumped from Georgia to Nebraska.

 

Sayin’s move was in response to the retirement of Alabama coach Nick Saban and his choosing Ohio State was indeed predictable. Carlsbad head football coach Thadd MacNeal explained the simple logic of the change.

 

"He signed to play for Nick Saban,” MacNeal said. “He had a great relationship with coach Saban and Tommy Rees. Those were his guys and the ones he had a relationship with. When the new staff came in — it was nothing against them but he didn’t know them at all...and Julian just felt like it was best for him to move on.”

 

At the time of his commitment to Alabama, Ohio State was high on Sayin’s list.

 

“They were actually No. 2 for him,” MacNeal said. “They were actually a close second and he visited at least two times that I know of. He loved Ryan Day and the offense and how quarterback-friendly he is.”

 

Sayin also has a connection with new Buckeyes offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who actually offered Julian a scholarship when the coach was at Alabama.

 

“He has been on our campus here and he’s someone Julian knows and is excited to learn from.” MacNeal said of O’Brien. “He has that NFL background and Julian really clicked well with him from a football standpoint.”

 

The main reason Sayin first chose Alabama was because he thought doing so gave him the best chance to win a national championship. Same reasoning is in play for Ohio State, which is collecting a lot of talent.

 

“He wants to compete for a national championship,” MacNeal said. “There’s only a few schools built that way, and Ohio State is obviously one. They have a great winning tradition and have a great chance to make the [College Football] Playoff every year for the foreseeable future.

 

“They’re bringing in a great class and Julian knows a lot of the players there, including Jeremiah Smith, who’s a very special talent.”

 

In fact, Smith is the No. 1 prospect in NFLDraftScout.com’s ratings. The former Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Fla.) is a 6-3, 210 pound wide receiver who was a standout in a postseason all-star game.

 

MacNeal said Sayin is already on campus at Alabama and expects to take part in spring practices. Also in those practices will be Kansas State transfer quarterback Will Howard, who is in his final year of eligibility. Expect a spirited competition, but it is likely that Sayin could be redshirted as the more experienced Howard becomes the starter. But nothing is for sure.

 

Biggest moves the Buckeyes made under Day this offseason were to retain current stars, notably on defense. But the transfer portal brought Ohio State some major players.

 

Howard, the presumed starting quarterback, looms the largest. But beyond  quarterback,  Ohio State bolstered the roster with other big names, including former Ole Miss star running back Quinshon Judkins, former  Alabama center Seth McLaughlin and tight end Will Kacmarek from Ohio.

 

Sayin's rise up the recruiting rankings reflected a stellar senior season and strong camp performances. He led Carlsbad to a 9-1 record in 2023, completing 74.5 percent of his passes for 2,347 yards and 24 touchdowns with one interception. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in California and later participated in the Elite 11 finals and earned MVP honors.

 

"Sayin quickly silenced critics as he proved to be the most consistent passer all three days (of the Elite 11)," 247Sports director of scouting Andrew Ivins wrote. "Sayin then shined just hours later at the Overtime OT7 Championship. There was a time when we viewed Sayin as more of a high-floor prospect with maybe not a ton of developmental upside, but that is no longer the case. He's got clean mechanics and showed in a competitive setting that he can make a variety of different high-level throws while some of his peers struggled."

 

Sayin, at 6-1 1/2, 190, has the natural abilities and polish to play early and produce at whichever school he chooses, according to 24/7 national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins.

 

"He's a pure thrower and might be the most ready to step in and play early of all the signal-callers in the '24 class," Biggins wrote. "His football IQ is very high, and he has an advanced feel for the position. He has excellent pocket mobility and short-area quickness. He's very accurate to all three levels of the field, has a tight release and throws exceptionally well off-platform and with different arm angles. He has all the tools to be very good early on in college."

 

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