Ohio State cornerbacks have point to prove after 2020 struggles

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, along with Ohio State’s cornerbacks, spoke with the media Wednesday following day three of fall camp.

No position group struggled as much as Ohio State’s secondary in 2020. The Buckeyes were stacked at all the other positions on defense, so the secondary’s flaws weren’t enough to be detrimental. But those flaws were still glaring. The Buckeyes ranked 122nd in the country in passing yards allowed per game (304).

The Buckeyes lost cornerback Shaun Wade to the NFL but return several players, including Cam Brown, who suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury against Penn State last year.

“Cam was playing really well last year. People forget that. He had a good camp. He was playing really well,” Coombs said. “It was a heartbreaking injury for him. He worked really hard to rehab it … and he’s going to go out there and compete.”

“I feel like I’m 100% ready to go,” Brown said. “The injury I had actually helped me out. On the sideline, I became more of a leader and more vocal, and I was able to help guys and understand things from a different perspective.”

Another leader in the secondary will be returning starter Sevyn Banks, who will more than likely be tasked with guarding opposing teams’ No. 1 receiver.

“I have very high expectations for myself this year putting it all together. Y’all are going to see it,” Banks said. “I sat behind Jeff [Okudah], Damon Arnette — you know all these guys — and now it’s my time. It’s going to be your time at some point, and now is mine.”

Backing up Banks and Brown will be fifth-year cornerback Marcus Williamson as well as redshirt freshman Ryan Watts, redshirt freshman Lejond Cavazos and true freshman Denzel Burke. Coombs, who is also the defensive backs coach, said he’d like to play as many as possible this season after using a four-man rotation last year before Brown’s injury.

“If they can play, they’re going to play. We’re going to play fast, fresh players and that’s not just at corner,” Coombs said.

Coombs relies on a single safety, which will most likely be returning senior Josh Proctor, perhaps the hardest-hitting safety in college football. The Buckeyes will also count on junior Marcus Hooker, who was allowed to return to the team after his second arrest for operating a vehicle while impaired.

Ohio State safeties aren’t slated to speak with the media until Aug. 23. Ryan Day will have his second news conference of fall camp on Monday.

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