Ohio State football: Josh Proctor will be an X-Factor

The Ohio State football team didn't have the best secondary play last season. Expect that to change this year.Big Ten Championship Ohio State Northwestern
The Ohio State football team didn't have the best secondary play last season. Expect that to change this year.Big Ten Championship Ohio State Northwestern /

Poor secondary play held the Ohio State football team back from winning a national title last year. Josh Proctor is hoping to be the one guiding the ship in the secondary this year to improve that unit as a whole.

The Ohio State Football team’s secondary clearly struggled last season. Game after game, the Buckeyes gave up big plays in the passing game. Against Indiana, Ohio State gave up 491 passing yards and 27 completions. This came out to 18.2 yards per completion. In the National Championship, Alabama had 464 passing yards and gained 12.89 yards per completion versus the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s defensive backs have built a reputation over the years. They are one of a few teams that have a real case in the DBU debate. Last season, Ohio State ranked 122nd in passing yards allowed per game at 303.6 yards per game.

This is far from the expectations Ohio State has for the secondary year in and year out. The Buckeyes need to turn around their defensive back play if they are going to have an elite defensive unit. Josh Proctor’s performance during the 2021-22 season will have a huge impact on the entire defense and secondary.

Malik Hooker during the 2016-17 season was the last superstar safety to play at Ohio State. Jordan Fuller was a very solid starting safety but never reached a superstar level. Proctor has the potential to be a superstar safety at the college level. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. In addition, Proctor has a lengthy frame that allows him to cover a large portion of the field.

Proctor’s stats during his Ohio State career have been nothing special. He has totaled only 33 tackles over the past two seasons. Proctor did have 20 tackles in last year’s shortened season. With a full 2020-21 season, he could have approached 40 or more tackles.

While statistics can prove a player’s worth, they are not everything. Proctor’s star potential is proven by several specific plays rather than stats. For example, Proctor showed tremendous range when corralling an interception versus Northwestern in last year’s Big Ten Championship game.

Ohio State could certainly use a playmaking safety in the back of their defense. Possessing a good safety can do so much for a defense. First off, safeties are the last line of defense. Good safeties will stop many potential big plays dead in its track.

Also, safeties with good range can come up with huge interceptions for defenses. Ohio State’s offense could be even more dangerous with a ball-hawking safety on the defensive end. This would do wonders in the turnover battle.

Winning the turnover battle combined with a great offense leads to a lot of winning. Proctor’s impact would be huge if he taps into his full potential. He has potential as a ball hawk due to his range. Further, Proctor has a lot of potential as a tackler due to his athletic ability and knack for hard hits.

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Proctor does not have to play perfectly this season. Simply playing consistent and being reliable at safety would help the Buckeye defense a lot. However, Ohio State wants an elite defense to help achieve the ultimate goal of a national title. Proctor at his best is one x-factor that could take the Buckeyes to the next level.