Confident Roby Having Excellent Campaign

Ohio State's defense has had some excellent performers in 2012, but one who is really standing out is cornerback Bradley Roby. The sophomore has made a number of big plays for the Buckeyes, and he's not shy in his belief that he's becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the country.

It might be hard to think about the Ohio State football team without Bradley Roby right now, but before Ohio State offered the three-star prospect from Georgia in mid-December 2009, he was all set to become a wide receiver at Vanderbilt.

Roby said he doesn't think about what might have been very often, but it does pop into his head every so often.

"Every time I watch ESPN I see highlights and see them playing, and I'm like, ‘Dang, I wonder if I was there, how would I have turned out?' " he said. "But I'm glad I'm here right now. I'm where I'm supposed to be."

Everyone in scarlet and gray certainly agrees. In his second year as a starter, Roby has become one of the best playmakers in the Big Ten – and one of the premier cornerbacks in the country.

Through the Buckeyes' first 10 games, Roby had scored three touchdowns – one each on a recovered fumble on a punt in the end zone, a pick-six and a blocked punt recovery. He had also intercepted two passes and broken up 16 more for a total of 18 passes defended, a mark that leads the nation despite the fact Roby missed the UAB game with a shoulder injury.

Add in his 48 tackles, good for fourth on the team, as well as a sack and a blocked punt, and you have the type of production that leaves Roby's fellow defenders impressed.

"You can't even explain him," said OSU's leading tackler, linebacker Ryan Shazier. "He's an amazing athlete. He's just a great player. You can't explain how good he is. I know he's one of the best corners in the nation, and he's going to keep doing what he can do."

Shazier also shook his head at the performance Roby put together against Penn State on Oct. 27. Though the official stats had Roby with four pass breakups, the OSU coaching staff had him with seven, including multiple plays made in the end zone to keep the Nittany Lions off the board.

Shazier called the performance "unheard of," while head coach Urban Meyer was similarly impressed.

"I even had one of my guys just recheck some of my records," Meyer said. "I don't think we've ever had a guy get his hand on seven balls."

Meyer has been critical of Roby at times this season because of what he has termed the sophomore's occasional penchant for getting bored when he's not being challenged, but it is also clear that Roby doesn't back down from the spotlight. He's been at his best in big games, blocking his punt vs. Michigan State, picking off two passes and scoring a touchdown vs. Nebraska and then turning in the performance at Penn State.

One reason for that might be Roby's off-the-charts self-belief. Though he's been beaten a few times this year – every cornerback is, especially one the team is starting to trust more and more in man coverage – Roby said he will continue to play with confidence.

"As a kid, I learned that's what you have to have," he said. "When you play with confidence, you get more confidence. When you see yourself out there making plays and going against top talent and still making plays, you know that your confidence level can be even higher because you know you can hang with those guys. I feel like that's what I do.

"I don't go out there scared or anything like that. I feel like that's what I'm born to do, so that's where my confidence comes from."

That confidence is bolstered by the preparation work Roby does for each game. Freshman Armani Reeves said he sees Roby extensively breaking down opponents in the film room, while Roby credited his interceptions vs. Nebraska to the work he did before the game that allowed him to know the passes that were coming.

"I think I've always prepared like that, really," he said. "Even when I wasn't playing as a freshman (while redshirting), I was still studying opponents and studying myself. I feel like I've done that a lot. I feel I've picked up the pace of that. Since I've been playing and trying to go out there and make plays, I've picked up the intensity of my study habits."

Add it all up and Roby feels the way he should. When asked if he believes he's one of the best cornerbacks in the country right now, the Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge grad had a quick answer.

"Yes, because I just believe in myself and believe in my talents," Roby said. "I know the type of plays I can make. I feel I can make a lot of plays on the field, and I don't really see a lot of the corners out there doing the things that I can do. I'm not trying to say that in an arrogant way, but I feel like I'm one of the best. I just go out there and try to prove it."

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