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5-Star Junior College Cornerback Kendall Sheffield Commits to Ohio State
By Ben van Ooyen
Kendall Sheffield is the third 5-star cornerback in Ohio State's 2017 recruiting class.
Photo courtesy ESPN.com
Kendall Sheffield | 6-0 185 | Blinn College
247Sports Scout Rivals ESPN 247Composite
3-Star #2 JUCO CB 5-Star #1 JUCO CB 4-Star #1 JUCO CB 4-Star #1 JUCO CB 4-Star #1 JUCO CB

Rarely does Ohio State dip into the Junior College ranks for prospects, but this year with the mass exodus of talent at the defensive back position, they did just that. Five-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield committed to the Buckeyes on Tuesday and now joins a loaded defensive backfield for the Buckeyes in the class of 2017.

The commitment was first reported by ESPN.com.

"After a great season at Blinn College, and an exciting recruiting process, I have decided to finish my collegiate career at The Ohio State University," Sheffield told ESPN.com. "I am excited to join Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, and look forward to helping Buckeye Nation return to the College Football Playoff."

Sheffield started his college career when he committed to the University of Alabama in 2015, however he never saw the field and redshirted in his only season in Tuscaloosa. In August of 2016 it was reported that he was going to transfer out of the program and decided to go the JUCO route rather than sit out a year at the FBS level.

He transferred to Blinn College in his home state of Texas for his redshirt freshman year. Sheffield played defensive back as well as punt and kick returner for the Blinn Buccaneers. In their opener he had a punt return for a touchdown and he followed that up later in the year with a kickoff return for a touchdown. On defense he played in all nine games recording 31 tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and a team leading 11 pass break ups.

Sheffield committed to the Buckeyes over Texas A&M, Texas, TCU and USC

What does this commitment mean for the Buckeyes?

The Player

Sheffield is a 6-ft 185-pound defensive back hailing from Missouri City, Texas. He is rated as the No. 4 Junior College player in the country and the No. 1 cornerback recruit. When Sheffield was recruited out of High School he was ranked as the No. 31 overall prospect and the No. 4 cornerback in the country.

Sheffield will likely line up as a cornerback replacing either Gareon Conley or Marshon Lattimore (if he leaves). He can also help on the return game as he was a track star during High School and possesses amazing speed.

The Comparison

His game reminds me a lot of Chris Gamble. While Sheffield will probably not play on offense, the fact that he is a great pass defender as well as a dangerous kickoff and punt returner puts him in the same category as Gamble when he was with the Buckeyes. Gamble was known for his ability to cover the top receiver on the opposing team and basically shut them down, occasionally intercepting a pass. Sheffield has the same frame as Gamble and is another shut down corner who will likely come in as the No. 1 defensive back option for the Buckeyes, meaning he will shadow opposing team’s No. 1 receivers. Gamble had a successful nine-year career in the NFL, where he retired as the Carolina Panthers' all-time leader in interceptions and passes defended. If Sheffield meets the comparisons of Chris Gamble, the Buckeyes will have another sure-fire NFL draft pick.

The Fit

Sheffield should come in and compete for a starting spot right out of the gate. With the departures of 3/4ths of the defensive backfield to the NFL for the Buckeyes, Sheffield could be able to come in right away and take one of those spots. While he doesn’t have the experience playing at the FBS level, as he redshirted his only year at Alabama, he is a very talented young man who was highly recruited out of high school for a reason.

The Depth Chart

Exit Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore and enter in three new starters for the Buckeyes next season. The depth chart will be wide open in the secondary much like it was a year ago, and one-year starters Lattimore and Hooker both played their way into possible first round draft picks. Outside of Denzel Ward and maybe Damon Webb, there really isn’t a clear cut starting backfield for the Buckeyes, so Sheffield should be able to come in and get on the field right away.

The Future

I fully expect Sheffield to be a one and done at Ohio State, as he will be three years out of high school after his redshirt sophomore season. The Buckeyes have been putting defensive backs in the NFL over the Urban Meyer years, from Bradley Roby to Eli Apple and this year with Conley, Lattimore and Hooker. While he will likely only be on the roster for one year, he should be able to provide some stability in the defensive backfield with the talent that he possesses. Sheffield coming in allows the other defensive back recruits coming in time to get adjusted to the college life and acclimated to playing college football for a year.

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