Victor Cutler couldn’t believe how many college football programs he’d heard about after entering the transfer portal earlier this month.
Ohio State, Penn State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, and Louisville were among the most notable schools that made offers to Cutler. Wyoming, North Texas and many of the Sun Belt schools he has played against over the past four years have also come forward. Cutler was overcome with joy as he realized how many choices he had as to where he would end his college football career.
“I am truly blessed. I thanked God. I almost broke down and cried when I got so many offers from the portal,” Cutler recalled. “It was just so crazy for me because it’s never happened to me before.”
As a post-high school candidate, Cutler was only rated a two-star recruit. His only FBS offer came from his hometown school, Louisiana-Monroe, where he started 21 games over the past three seasons, including all 12 games of the 2022 Warhawks in left tackle. But Cutler always aspired to play at the highest level, which is why he decided to enter the transfer portal with two years of eligibility left.
“I just felt like I wanted something better for myself,” Cutler told Eleven Warriors on Wednesday. “I mean, every kid’s dream is to play Power 5 football. Everyone dreams of going to the Bamas, the LSUs, the Georgias, the Ohio States, Michigans. Everyone dreams of going to these top schools. And so after last season I felt like I showed the skill and I feel like I showed the world that I can play at this level. Even though I was at a small school, I was still able to hold my own against the bigger competition.”
Ohio State offense coach Justin Frye reached out to Cutler two days after entering the transfer portal. It didn’t take long for Frye to make a big impression on Cutler, and that relationship was the main reason Cutler signed for Ohio State on Wednesday.
“He texted me almost every day asking me what I want to do better to become a better footballer. What do I think were my mistakes and just his knowledge of the game I’ve never heard of that before,” Cutler said. “As I thought, you know I’ve had a pretty good knowledge of the offensive line for four years in college. But no, he just showed me that I’m only scratching the surface.
“I want him to train me to be the best version of me. And I have a feeling that Ohio State will give me the best opportunity to eventually get to the next level.”
Frye told Cutler he was impressed with what he saw in Cutler’s feature film against Alabama and Texas last season, but what really impressed Cutler about Frye was that Frye told him what he needed to do better and how the state did Ohio can help him get better.
“He said he saw my game in Alabama and Texas last year and I did really well in those games. I mean, there was an article that said I had basically an 85% pass rate (from Pro Football Focus) against Alabama,” Cutler said. “But he still told me all my mistakes and where I went wrong and everything. So he just told me what I could work on. He told me all my strengths. And he told me what I could get better at. And he told me that he could say that I never trained my weaknesses. And he said, ‘When I’m done with you, there will be no more faults with you.’ So it just makes sense to play for him.”
Cutler signed with the Buckeyes Wednesday after a two-day visit to Ohio State. He will be back in Columbus Monday to officially enroll at Ohio State. On Wednesday night, however, he said it’s still clear he’ll be a buckeye really soon.
“It’s been my dream for so long. And I even told my parents, I still didn’t think it even felt real,” Cutler said. “When I signed this morning, I was like, ‘Damn, it’s official now.’ But it just doesn’t feel real because this has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and it’s finally coming true.”
A dream becomes true pic.twitter.com/IBUVByamNz
— V!c (@CutlerVictor) January 18, 2023
Cutler said he’s also considering going to North Texas for the opportunity to be coached by 2009 NFL No. 2 draft pick Jason Smith, who is now an offensive analyst for Mean Green. However, the chance to play for “one of the best programs in the nation” helped propel Ohio State to the top.
Cutler is also excited about the opportunity to play in a big Midwest city, having grown up in Detroit before moving to Monroe, Louisiana as a teenager. He admits he was a Michigan fan growing up, but he certainly won’t be anymore.
“Being from this state, you were kind of born and raised to hate this team,” Cutler said, referring to Ohio State. “But now that I’m here, hey, I don’t care about Michigan anymore. I’m a horse chestnut now.”
While Cutler played mostly tackles at ULM, he will likely play on the inside offensive line at Ohio State. He started four games at center for ULM in 2021 and was informed by Frye that he will be competing for the Buckeyes’ starting center job this spring.
Despite this, Cutler believes he has the athleticism and ability to play any of the five spots on the offensive line when needed.
“I really don’t feel like any position is my best position. I know I’m versatile,” said Cutler, who currently stands 6’3 and weighs 302 pounds. “I know it will help me a lot because I know the difference between what a tackle has to do and what an interior designer has to do. I’ve even played guard during practice before, so I know what all the offensive linemen are doing.
“I know the mentality, I know how to think in different positions. I can’t go in as a center and think like a tackle. I can’t get into tackle thinking like a center. I mean, just having the experience of starting so many games in different positions, I know that will help.”
While Cutler could play two seasons at Ohio State, his goal is to land a starting job this year and play well enough to establish himself as a 2024 NFL draft prospect.
“My plan is to do my job, have a breakout season this year, and if I’m good enough, have a high enough draft stock,” Cutler said. “But if not, I have no problem coming back and playing another year.”
“I want (Justin Frye) to coach myself to be the best version of me. And I have a feeling that Ohio State will give me the best opportunity to eventually get to the next level.” – Victor Cutler on moving to Ohio State
Cutler realizes that he doesn’t just get a starting spot in Ohio State. Other candidates starting at center for the Buckeyes in 2023 include Matt Jones, who could either move to center or remain in the right guard position he started last season, and Jakob James, who will start at center in 2022 Ohio State second team.
But Cutler is hungry to prove he’s capable of being a starter at Ohio State, and he says Buckeye fans will see that hunger if he gets a chance to play.
“You’re going to see a kid who had a dream and he’s living out his dream and he’s going to do his best to keep his dream alive for as long as possible,” Cutler said. “You will see a really devoted person. Someone who is actually humble and just grateful to be there. I’m not the kind of person who just feels like I deserve everything… you’ll really see how much I really love this game and how much I care about football.”