Will Alabama transfer Caleb Downs play RB?

Ohio State is looking at Caleb Downs, the All-America transfer safety from Alabama, as an additional option for its backfield.

It was a possibility Buckeyes coach Ryan Day raised while speaking with reporters on Tuesday, referring to Downs seeing snaps at running back in addition to safety as a potential contingency plan for this fall.

“I know that he has the capability to do it,” Day said. “I know he has the athleticism to do it. We’ll see where it goes.”

Day said Downs, who transferred to Ohio State in January, has spent time in running back meetings and took occasional reps at the position during individual drills in spring practice.

The potential for Downs playing both sides of the ball was a topic of conversation when the Buckeyes first recruited him out of high school in suburban Atlanta several years ago and again after his freshman season with the Crimson Tide.

“I know it’s something that he enjoys,” Day said, “having the ball in his hands.”

Downs did not appear at running back with the Crimson Tide last fall, but he was at least versatile enough to be featured as a punt returner. He returned four punts for 87 yards, including a touchdown.

More: Join the Ohio State Sports Insider text group with Bill Rabinowitz, Joey Kaufman Adam Jardy

“Ultimately, we think his ceiling is highest on defense,” Day said, “but I having guys go on either side of the ball and just listen in the meetings is really healthy for their development. So we’re going to do that regardless.”

The Buckeyes have little questions at the top of their depth chart at running back, resulting from the return of TreVeyon Henderson, who led them in rushing in two out of the last three seasons, and the addition of Mississippi transfer Quinshon Judkins, who ran for 1,000 yards in his two seasons at with the Rebels.

But their other two scholarship backs — James Peoples and Sam Williams-Dixon — are both freshmen, leaving them without much experience behind Henderson and Judkins.

Dallan Hayden, who spent two seasons at Ohio State, transferred to Colorado earlier this spring.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch and can be reached at

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *