For far too long, the battle for the Buckeye cornerback has been with himself.
After the Middletown, Ohio, native got his feet wet as a redshirt freshman cornerback in 2006, he seemed ready for a long and productive career as a Buckeye. Then his body became his own worst enemy.
Amos suffered a knee injury in the spring of 2007 that resulted in him missing the first half of the year and limiting him to special teams the rest of the campaign. Last season was over before it began when Amos played in just one game thanks to another injury.
Now, he's confirmed that he's fresh and healthy, and with the spring coming to an end he appears to be the favorite to take over as a starter opposite Chimdi Chekwa when the Buckeyes start the 2009 season in September.
"The spring is going well," he said. "I'm staying healthy. With being an older guy, nothing is new to me here, so I'm just trying to play my role and do what it takes for the team."
The 6-1, 183-pounder has done nothing to dissuade the notion that he's ready to become a major contributor for the Buckeye defense. He's been around the ball during practices that have been open to the media, but he saved his best for the biggest day of the spring thus far.
At the team's jersey scrimmage last Saturday, Amos intercepted Joe Bauserman, a turnover that became crucial when the defense pulled out a 56-55 victory. He also had two other near interceptions that turned into pass breakups.
Not bad for a guy who hasn't played much defense over the past two years, but he says that his body is ready and allowing him to make the plays necessary.
"Coming off of the two injuries that I've had, you always wonder, ‘Am I going to be able to be like myself?' but as you work hard and you put in the time to get back to the field you know being a competitor that you're going to have a chance to make those plays," he said. "You just have to go out and make them."
His stock didn't flag among the Ohio State team. Head coach Jim Tressel told the media that his philosophy is to not evaluate a player negatively if he's a freshman or if he's been hurt, and Amos has certainly fallen into the latter category over the past two seasons.
That has proven to be a smart philosophy now that Amos is healthy and contributing.
"He's playing pretty smart. He's a veteran," Tressel said. "You can't sit there saying, ‘Oh, he's not going to come through for us.' When he's healthy, he's been pretty solid. He's had to battle some good guys for playing time."
Amos' last on-field play at cornerback in varsity competition helped Tressel make those claims. Playing on the 2006 team behind emerging Malcolm Jenkins, senior Antonio Smith and eventual three-year standout Donald Washington, Amos finished with nine tackles and an interception made against Indiana.
Another thing in his corner is his knowledge of the defense. As a fifth-year player, Amos is well-versed in the team's defense and provides a veteran presence in the battle for a starting spot.
"I'm a fifth-year guy," he said. "I pretty much know the playbook like the back of my hand. Now it's just like not only playing but coaching up the younger guys. It's just a good chance that I have right now to make a name for myself and better this team."
His teammates say that his comfort level and experience have helped him make a confident run for the open spot across from Chekwa.
"I felt sorry for him every year that he's gone down, but I think he's itching to get out there," safety Kurt Coleman said. "It's his final go-round, so he's letting it all go and he's having fun."
Fun for Amos would be capturing a starting role, but one shouldn't expect him to mope if it doesn't come. His primary competition, junior Devon Torrence, also had a critical interception in the jersey scrimmage, but Amos said the two have been having a friendly fight throughout the spring.
"This whole thing between me and Devon, we're good friends and I'm going to look out for him," Amos said. "I think we both have something that we bring to the table."