— Kye Stokes (@kye_stokes) December 16, 2023
Stokes entered the portal as soon as he was allowed to do so. He joined fellow 2022 defensive backs Jyaire Brown and Ryan Turner. Sonny Styles is the only defensive back from the class still at Ohio State.
The Florida native was one of the lowest-ranked recruits in the 2022 class. Stokes did not record any stats during the 2023 season in a secondary filled with talent, and he will have three years of eligibility at Cincinnati.
The Ohio State Buckeyes had Stokes take a step back after a small role in 2022
A minor role in the Ohio State Buckeyes’ secondary in 2022 saw Stokes accrue 12 tackles on the season. With a forced fumble as well, many thought Stokes would see more action in the 2023 season.
Stokes’ snap count went from 83 as a true freshman, to just 10 as a sophomore. He struggled to find his way onto the field after true freshman Malik Hartford surpassed him on the depth chart.
Stokes stood out amongst talent in Ohio State’s spring game this year, and earned praise from his coaches and the media during spring practices. In an article from ElevenWarrios, head coach Ryan Day sang Stokes’ praises as a player and a person.
“The first thing you notice is his smile and his attitude every day is just excellent. It’s just contagious. I mean, he constantly just has a lot of energy,” Day said Thursday. “But on the field athletically, he’s got a really high ceiling. His movement is excellent. His range, his ability to change direction, his ball skills, covering skills.”
Stokes is the second Buckeye in the transfer portal to commit to Cincinnati along with running back Evan Pryor. Running back Chip Trayanum has joined the Kentucky Wildcats, and cornerack Ryan Turner has joined the Boston College Eagles. Stokes is just the fourth Ohio State transfer to find a new home. Other Ohio State players in the portal are:
- Kyle McCord (quarterback)
- Julian Fleming (receiver)
- Victor Cutler Jr. (center)
- Jakob James (center)
- Omari Abor (defensive end)
- Parker Lewis (kicker)
- Cameron Martinez (safety)
- Jyaire Brown (cornerback)
- Reid Carrico (linebacker)
Former Ohio State Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs originally recruited stokes, and is now at Cincinnati
In deciding to join fellow Ohio State transfer Evan Pryor, Stokes also decided to rejoin the defensive coordinator that originally recruited him. While he is not the defensive coordinator for the Bearcats, special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs seemingly developed a relationship with Stokes before he left Ohio State in 2021.
The Bearcats are hoping Stokes can be a solid contributor as their defense left a lot to be desired this season. Cincinnati was 94th in the nation in total defense in a season where they allowed over 400 yards per game.
The Bearcats ranked 67th in the country when it came to passing defense. They allowed 20 passing touchdowns on 225.8 yards per game in their first year against Big 12 competition. As the Bearcats adjust to Power Five football, they hope transfers from big time schools like Stokes can bridge the gap.