July 12, 2012

Corners bring back experience, rising stars

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

With Ohio State's fall camp a month away from kicking off, we at Buckeye Grove have decided to take a look at the roster that Urban Meyer will be working with in his first year as Ohio State's head coach. Today, we'll take a look at the current state of the Buckeyes' cornerbacks. You can see yesterday's preview of the Ohio State linebackers by clicking here.

With the exception of quarterback and special teams, only one unit on the Ohio State roster returns all of its starters from a season ago: the defensive backs. That includes a group of cornerbacks that contains a rising star, an experienced senior, and a blue-chip sophomore looking to make an impact for the first time in Columbus.

Although several players were vying for it, only one Buckeye walked away from spring camp with Ohio State's No. 1 jersey in his possession, and that was Bradley Roby. A redshirt sophomore, Roby certainly made an impact in his first season of action a year ago, recording 47 tackles- 3.5 of which came for a loss- three interceptions, six pass break-ups, nine passes defended, and one forced fumble.

Roby, who wore No. 25 in his first two seasons in Columbus, earned the right to wear his new uniform number over the course of this past spring camp.

"Everything we try to do around here is incentive-based," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "A big thing is wearing visors or changing your number to number one. I don't really care what you wear, but don't come see me unless you've taken care of your business in all of the other areas that we evaluate."

Backing-up the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Roby will be 5-foot-8, 180-pound redshirt sophomore Adam Griffin. The son of two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin, Adam primarily played on special teams in 2011, where he recorded just one tackle.

While he's listed as Roby's back-up on the depth chart, Griffin will likely be the fourth cornerback on the Ohio State roster, as the other side of the field is the home of a pair of co-starters in Travis Howard and Doran Grant.

Howard, a fifth-year senior, occupied a starting cornerback spot a season ago, and showed some flashes of brilliance, but also gave up too many big plays and dropped too many would-be interceptions. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Howard recorded 41 tackles, two interceptions, five pass break-ups, and defended seven passes in what was largely an inconsistent junior year for the Miami, Fla. native.

Due to the uncertainties in his on-field performance, Howard finds himself listed as a co-starter alongside Grant, a 5-foot-11, 188-pound sophomore. A four-star recruit from Akron, Ohio, Grant primarily played on special teams as freshman, where he tallied six tackles.

The loser of the position battle between Howard and Grant will back-up the winner, and likely Roby, should he be forced to miss time in 2012.

Also adding depth at cornerback this season will be a duo of true freshmen in Armani Reeves and Tyvis Powell.

Reeves, a 5-foot-10, 194-pound four-star prospect out of West Roxbury, Mass. is the most likely out of the two to crack the two-deep by the end of fall camp, while Powell, a 6-foot-3, 196-pound three-star recruit from Bedford, Ohio could also play safety if he doesn't redshirt this season.

Other cornerbacks on the Ohio State roster include walk-ons Taylor Rice, Vincent Petrella, and Julian Vann.


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