Ohio State has strengthened its safety lineup by adding Keenan Nelson Jr., a former South Carolina defensive back, to the team. Nelson committed to Ohio State on Friday, joining a talented group that includes Lathan Ransom, Caleb Downs, Malik Hartford, Jayden Bonsu, Jaylen McClain, and Leroy Roker for the 2024 season. Nelson has three years of eligibility remaining.

Nelson, a four-star recruit from the 2022 class, comes from Philadelphia and St. Joseph’s Prep—the same high school that produced former Ohio State stars Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyle McCord. Ranked as the No. 17 safety and No. 221 overall prospect by 247Sports, Nelson chose South Carolina over offers from top programs like Penn State, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Oregon.

During his time at South Carolina, Nelson played in 15 games and started in four over two seasons. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back made 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass breakup. He also excelled on special teams, blocking a punt and returning it 18 yards for a touchdown against Vanderbilt.

According to Pro Football Focus, Nelson earned an overall grade of 58.1 in 115 snaps in 2023. His performance included a 74.3 grade as a run defender, 46.8 as a tackler, 58.6 as a pass rusher, and 50.8 as a pass defender.

With Downs and Ransom set to lead Ohio State’s adjuster and bandit positions, and Jordan Hancock continuing as the Buckeyes’ nickel, Nelson will provide valuable depth to the defensive backfield. Malik Hartford, following an impressive freshman season, is expected to back up Downs at the adjuster position. This leaves Nelson to compete with Bonsu, McClain, and Roker for a spot in the two-deep behind Ransom.

Ohio State fans can look forward to seeing Nelson’s impact on the field, adding experience and skill to an already strong safety group.