OSU looking for answers at cornerback

By Jim Naveau - [email protected]

COLUMBUS — After several years of having cornerbacks selected in the NFL draft’s first round and seamlessly replacing them, Ohio State struggled at times at that position last season.

So obviously that will be an area which will get much attention during spring practice for the Buckeyes.

Sevyn Banks, a starter last year, is back. The other most experienced cornerback is Cameron Brown,a back-up last year, who is still working his way back from a season-ending Achilles injury in the Penn State game last fall.

Ohio State got all the way to the national championship game last season despite ranking No. 122 nationally in passing yards allowed. And in a 52-24 loss to Alabama in the championship game it gave up 464 yards passing and five touchdown passes.

If help is on the way, much of it could come from players in their first or second year in the program.

“I’m really excited about what I’ve seen back there so far,” OSU coach Ryan Day said about the Buckeyes’ cornerback on a Zoom call on Monday.

“Sevyn and Cam will be coming back. It’s a big spring for Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts. These are two guys who have been in the program. This will be a big spring for them. They’re going to have to step up,” he said.

Cavazos and Watts are redshirt freshmen who were 4-star recruits. Denzel Burke is an incoming freshman who was a 4-star recruit who enrolled early. He is currently ruled out of contact drills because of a should injury. Redshirt freshman Cameron Martinez, another 4-star, could be in the mix at cornerback or could spend some practice time at safety.

“They’re going to be young so it’s a very, very important spring for the corners,” Day said.

Some other thoughts from Day:

— The decision about who becomes the starting quarterback from among redshirt freshmen Jack Miller and C.J. Stroud and freshman Kyle McCord will stretch out over the next several weeks and months.

“You can’t label someone early on because it’s such a developmental position. It doesn’t all come at once, it’s all part of the process, it’s all part of the learning,” he said.

“You get around guys and you start to get a feeling for how much it matters to them. In the end that’s the thing I’ve found with quarterbacks — if they have enough talent, if they care enough and they want it bad enough then usually it will work out for them. That’s something we keep an eye on.

“The reps (repetitions) have pretty much been split up equally. We’ve seen some good things and some other snaps that were just OK. They’re learning, they’re gathering information. We have not been disappointed by any stretch of the imagination. Who can learn from their mistakes and make adjustments quicker is really going to make a difference.”

— Safety Marcus Hooker, who was suspended after being arrested for driving under the influence, was on a spring roster released by Ohio State on Monday but remains suspended.

“No update there,” Day said.

— Master Teague is the Buckeyes’ No. 1 running back. “Master is the incumbent. He certainly has earned that right. I know those other guys are hungry and want to get reps and they will. That will be fun to watch. We do have quite a few running backs,” Day said.

Steele Chambers, Miyan Williams and Marcus Crowley are veteran running backs and they will be joined by 5-star recruit TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor, a 4-star recruit.

— Ohio State will practice in pads for the first time this spring on Wednesday. “That’s when the real football starts,” Day said.

— Offensive lineman Harry Miller, a starting guard last season who might be moved to center, is currently among the Buckeyes not participating in contact drills.

“Harry is non-contact right now and probably will be throughout the spring,” Day said.


By Jim Naveau

[email protected]