We continue our positional breakdown with a look at the Buckeye cornerbacks for the upcoming season. A look at the Buckeye safeties can be found here.
The conversation of Buckeye cornerbacks begins with Bradley Roby. Roby is widely considered a lock to be a first round pick in April’s 2014 NFL Draft, but ran into some off the field issues this past offseason. Although his charges were dropped, Roby was arrested with battery charges in July, stemming from his role in an altercation at a bar in Indiana. Roby will serve a one game suspension to start the season, but the All-Big Ten first-teamer will return for the rest of the season.
The ESPN.com first-team All-American (second team by AP and Walter Camp) was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 2012. He defended 19 passes, which led the nation. His 17 pass break-ups tied an Ohio State single season record, setting the pace for the rest of the defense which set a school record with 73 break-ups. Roby possesses dynamic play-making ability; he was the only defensive player in the country last year to score touchdowns in three different ways. Roby scored on a fumbled punt in the end zone in the season opener against Miami, recovered a blocked punt in the end zone vs. Indiana, returned an interception for a touchdown in the rout against Nebraska, and he also blocked a punt at Michigan State.
Starting across from Bradley Roby will be junior Doran Grant. Grant played in all 25 games for the Buckeyes the last two seasons and will be taking over the spot of Travis Howard. Grant is one of the hardest workers on the team and received the Iron Buckeye Award for winter 2013 to recognize his effort. The award is given to the student-athletes “who best exemplify unquestionable physical training dedication, determination, discipline, toughness, and leadership.” Grant had 19 tackles last season, and filled in nicely for Roby in his lone start last season, recording seven tackles, an interception, a sack, and a fumble recovery against UAB. Grant will be looking to build off that performance as a full-time starter.
The story of the players behind Roby and Grant is similar to the backup safeties- young players with inexperience. Armani Reeves will start for Roby. Reeves was impressive during camp following up his freshman campaign as key special teams contributor. Behind Reeves are freshmen Eli Apple (No.11 national rank ESPN, 5-star), Gareon Conley (no.1 Ohio player, 4-star) and Cam Burrows (4-star). The depth of the Buckeye corners was hurt by an injury and a suspension. Junior Adam Griffin, son of legend Archie Griffin, has been a huge contributor to the Buckeyes special teams unit and assumed a larger leadership role with the team. Griffin was also a recipient of the Iron Buckeye Award for winter 2013. However, Griffin, suffered a shoulder injury and will be out for the season (and likely his career). Sophomore Najee Murray will be serving a suspension due to a training camp issue.
Next up on our positional breakdowns will be the linebacking unit. Stay tuned as we continue to preview the start of the season for your 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes.