Shaun Wade (© AAG)

OSU Instant Impact: 4-Star CB Shaun Wade

Ohio State's 2017 recruiting class holds one of the highest average star ratings in the history of Scout, and four-star cornerback Shaun Wade is one of the jewels of the class.

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Four-star cornerback Shaun Wade was the subject of a furious recruiting battle between Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, with Ohio State eventually landing the signature. 

As an early enrollee, Wade will be able to take advantage of the strength and conditioning program as well as go through spring football, in attempt to be a contributor as a true freshman for the Buckeye defense. 

WHAT DOES HE NEED TO DO TO MENTALLY TO PLAY AS A FRESHMAN? The physical skills are not in question, as Wade has the ability to compete with any defensive back on the roster from that standpoint. As with every newcomer, Wade needs to throw himself into Greg Schiano's playbook and learn as much as he can before he puts on the pads this spring. There will be no patience for mental errors, and the inability to process information quickly will move Wade from potential contributor to special teams player or even possible redshirt. Wade is a sharp kid from a great high school, so if he applies himself there's a chance he makes an impact this April. With three starters leaving early for the NFL, Wade will get his shot if he proves he can handle things mentally. 

WHAT DOES HE NEED TO DO PHYSICALLY TO PLAY AS A FRESHMAN? Even though I'm sure Wade feels he is in great shape, he needs to attack the winter workouts with a vengeance. He will learn quickly the difference between competing against high school boys to now battling grown-azz men for playing time. He needs to be physically stronger to beat out players that have been in the program for a few years, and Mickey Marotti needs to be his daddy over the next two months. 

WHERE WILL WADE PLAY IN THIS DEFENSE? Although recruited as a cornerback, Shaun Wade has the length, speed, hip recovery and ball skills to play anywhere in the Buckeye secondary. Could he take either Marshon Lattimore or Gareon Conley's spot? ABSOLUTELY, he could. Could he replace Damon Arnette as the nickel back covering slot receivers? Without question he could. How about being the next Malik Hooker for the Buckeyes back at safety? Wade has that type of athleticism, and he is versatile enough to be plugged in where they need him most.
WHO DOES WADE COMPARE TO? I want to say Gareon Conley, but Wade appears to be taller and longer than Conley already. I also think Wade is FAR more advanced as a player than Conley, who was not close to being ready to compete as a freshman. Let's go with Gareon Conley after his first year in the Ohio State program for Wade. And Gareon Conley is going to be a high pick in this April's NFL draft, so this is high praise. 

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