Bank Blog: A Look At The Buckeye DB'S

Ohio State signed five defensive backs Wednesday, and that position group was clearly targeted for an influx of talent. Who's returning for the Buckeyes, and how will the newcomers fit in?

Ohio State brought in plenty of defensive back talent this past Wednesday, and there's no doubt they were looking to bring in fresh bodies for the back line of defense. 

How will the roster look once the new guys are on campus and going through fall practice? Let's take a look. 

THE CORNERBACKS: The loss of Eli Apple was not expected until late in the year, so somebody needs to step up to grab his position. Who are the candidates? 

Gareon Conley: Solidly entrenched as a starter and potentially an all Big Ten performer. No worries with Conley. Until he announces for the draft next January. 

Damon Webb: Saw a lot of time last year at the nickel, prior to and after his suspension. He should be able to take Apple's spot, or remain at the nickel spot. Look for him to take a leap this year, similar to Conley last year. 

Marshon Lattimore: Also saw time last year when healthy, and showed the ability to play at this level. For Lattimore, it's all about being physically ready to play. Has had a lot of nagging injuries so far, and that needs to stop. Should be a starter next season.

Denzel Ward: There is playing time available behind the above three, and Chris Ash was very high on Ward's ability. A year in the weight room should pay dividends. 

Damon Arnette: Started off slowly, but was named as one of the top younger players at Showtime bowl practice. Has the length to play outside on physical receivers. 

Joshua Norwood: Did not hear much about Norwood last year, so it's tough to comment on his chances. Is more of the smaller corner that Ash preferred. Don't think Greg Schiano shares this philosophy. 

THE SAFETIES: Losing both Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell a year early hurt both the talent factor and the experience Ohio State had with this position group. Who needs to step up? I'm not listing walkons. If they're playing, you're in trouble. Period.

 Erick Smith: Maybe the most important member of this group, because when healthy, Smith has all league ability. Coming off a nasty knee injury. Will be interesting to see if he competes this spring, which I doubt. He must be ready to go in the fall. 

Malik Hooker: This player is also very talented, but has very little experience. Third year in the program, and they took this kid over Montae Nicholson, so his time to produce is now. Second most important player behind Smith. 

Cameron Burrows: Another player the has seen injuries harm what was once a promising career at Ohio State. I still think there's talent, but I'm not sure he's going to be physically healthy enough to show it. Would almost be a bonus if Burrows could play and contribute. 

Eric Glover-Williams: Moved to safety in the middle of the year, and he may be forced to play given the lack of depth at the safety spots. Does not have ideal safety size, but he plays with the mindset of a linebacker. He has a chance to establish himself as a player at safety. 

THE FRESHMEN: Given the lack of depth at safety, one or two of these freshmen are going to get a shot at the safety spots as backups. 

Jordan Fuller: He needs to be ready to contribute next year, and I think he can do that as a true freshman. I know he thinks he's a cornerback, but he's the perfect safety in this system. He could be in the two-deep from Day One.

Wayne Davis: Another freshman that will get a chance to contribute if he's good enough. Don't see him at safety, but he could play nickel if Lattimore was forced to move to safety. 

Jahsen Wint: Wouldn't think he would be ready to play safety in the Big Ten, especially given that he's never played the position before. 

Rodjay Burns: Was more of a wide receiver than a defensive back, so I'm guessing he's going to need a redshirt year at Ohio State.  

Kareem Felder: Another of the Ash shorter cornerback types, so it's hard to see him playing next year. Probably will need a redshirt year to get stronger. 

SUMMARY: I think they're just fine at the cornerback/nickel spots, although there isn't much depth. Need Conley, Webb and Lattimore to stay healthy and produce, although Ward and Arnette might be ready.

Safety is a concern. No other way to look at it. There is not one proven performer, and no depth at all to speak of. Ash was great at getting DB's coached up and ready to go at a young age. Schiano will absolutely need to do the same with the safeties. 

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