Ohio State's thin depth at linebacker got a bit thinner Tuesday night with the announcement that Luke Roberts, a sophomore linebacker out of Lancaster, Ohio, will be transferring to Harvard.
Michael Chung of TheOzone.net broke the news on Twitter:
Hearing that Ohio State linebacker Luke Roberts will be transferring to Harvard for the 2014 football season.— Michael Chung (@MChungOZone) July 2, 2013
Roberts was a 3-star prospect who verbally committed to the Buckeyes in July 2011 despite the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that was putting a cloud of uncertainty around the Ohio State program. Urban Meyer honored the previous coaching staff's scholarship offer to Roberts when he took over four months later, and the Lancaster product stuck with the Buckeyes as part of Meyer's first recruiting class in Columbus.
According to Chung, the coaching staff loved Roberts' work ethic on the field and his dedication in the classroom. That affection was reciprocated as Roberts spoke highly of the Ohio State coaching staff and, particularly, Meyer as a head coach.
"He's the most intense person I've ever met in my life," Roberts told Brad Bournival of BuckeyeNation. "He's a good guy. He knows coaching better than anyone I've ever talked to. He demands excellence out of us all the time."
Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch notes that Roberts' decision to transfer was amicable on both sides. Few football players get the opportunity to transfer to a school as prestigious as Harvard, and the coaching staff wouldn't deny Roberts the chance to do so.
Roberts was grateful, sharing his thoughts on Twitter:
Thank you so much for all of the support. It really means a lot. I couldn't have asked for a better place to spend the last year and a half.— Luke Roberts (@CoolHandLuke_42) July 3, 2013
His departure does put the Buckeyes in a tough situation, though.
Roberts is now the second linebacker to transfer from Ohio State this offseason, following David Perkins, who was granted his release in May. Perkins was expected to back up Ryan Shazier, and Roberts would have likely been slated behind Perkins on the depth chart this fall.
Meyer will now have to find backups for Shazier during fall camp, a time he usually reserves to prepare for the season.
The Buckeyes do have a number of incoming freshmen who will get a chance to give Meyer that depth. Four-star prospect Mike Mitchell seems like the most natural fit among the first-year candidates, although Christopher Worley and Trey Johnson give Meyer plenty of options.
All recruit rankings per 247Sports.com.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.