Ohio State signed an all-time great recruiting class for 2017, and no position highlights the quality brought in more than the defensive backs.
The Buckeyes' haul included five-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, four-star corners Shaun Wade and Marcus Williamson and four-star safety Isaiah Pryor. And that's just the players who enrolled early, not including five-star JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield, who is a sophomore in terms of eligibility.
Through the first two practices this spring, Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said he's been impressed by the young players, but noted that there's still a period of growth needed when making the jump from high school to college football, not matter how talented a player might be.
"There's two things," Schiano said. "I think the volume of football as far as it's much different from high school, all the details that go into playing. It's not, 'Go cover him.' And then the other thing is the speed of the game and the tempo of the game and the speed that the players are trying to defend.
"I can tell you that it's early, it's really early, those are some special players."
Schiano referred to the players like Okudah and Wade as "very athletic," and that point was driven home by a graphic on the video screen inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. According to the information posted, Okudah was clocked at 23.2 miles per hour during one of his first two practices as a Buckeye – the fastest speed on the team.
While there's a long way to go before Ohio State decides on starters, there are three open spots in the defensive backfield, and that doesn't even account for rotation. The Buckeyes rotated three high-level cornerbacks last season and the only one returning – Denzel Ward – figures to be a starter this year. The other cornerback spot or two could well end up being field by players like Okudah and Wade, while Sheffield figures to be in the mix as well.
With potential playing time coming their way right away, Schiano's first impression was nothing but positive.
"I'm very impressed with them, as I said, very athletic guys," Schiano said. "Let them play and let's see how it goes. But with a doubt your initial impression is really talented guys."
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