There's no doubting that early enrollee Jeffrey Okudah is one of the top overall prospects in the amazing Ohio State 2017 recruiting class, and that's not easy to do in one of the highest rated groups in Scout's history.
With three defensive back starters having departed early for the NFL, Okudah has every opportunity to land a spot in next year's defense. He has the physical skills to play right away.
WHAT IS HIS BEST POSITION? That is a very tough question to answer right now, and it will be fun to see where Okudah lines up this spring. With his size, speed, hip recovery and physicality, Okudah could realistically play any position in the defensive backfield. Lockdown corner? I can see that. Hard-hitting strong safety? For sure. Ball-hawking, field covering free safety? Another Malik Hooker? Possibly. Where would I play Okudah? I would plug him into Hooker's spot and let him go from Day-One. If he can handle it, you're set for the next three years. If not, work him in slowly and watch him start next year. The way the college game has changed the past few years, you absolutely need a safety that can cover receivers and take the ball away from the defense. Okudah might not have the raw athletic ability Hooker has, but he appears to be a player that will be more fundamentally sound as a tackler. Hooker had some spectacular hits last season, but missed a lot in the running game. While not as flashy as Hooker, I believe Okudah can become that type of safety for Ohio State.
WHAT DOES HE NEED TO DO TO PLAY AS A FRESHMAN? What should not be forgotten with Hooker is that for all his highlight reel plays, and there were tons of them, he was also the smartest defender on the field for the Buckeyes. For one who only started one season, Hooker was always in the right spot and was rarely fooled on the field. Can Okudah display that type of field smarts and awareness? Will he be able to learn this defense inside and out in only eight months? We are going to soon find out. I believe he has the size and physical strength to play today, and if he picks things up mentally, Jeffrey Okudah is going to be on the field a lot for Ohio State this season.
WHO DOES OKUDAH COMPARE TO? I've said it before and I believe it today as well that Okudah is a more physical Vonn Bell. When you are being compared to guys like Hooker and Bell, you are an elite prospect, and that's why Jeffrey Okudah is personally my highest rated member of the 2017 Ohio State recruiting class.