Most Important Buckeyes: No. 10
By Patrick Maks
Photo by Dan Harker
COLUMBUS — According to Luke Fickell, cornerback Bradley Roby has something about him other players just can’t learn.
“Bradley has some things that you don’t teach and that’s confident level,” the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach said this fall.
Combine that with Roby’s athletic prowess and instincts, and it’s enough to make the Suwanee, Georgia native a shoe-in for the No. 10 spot on our countdown of the 20 Most Important Buckeyes for 2012.
What Makes Him Important?
Roby might be just as important to Ohio State off the field as he is on it. Meaning, the sophomore brings a certain kind of attitude to the locker room that seems to have been missing in recent years. I would hate to call that word swagger, but that’s almost what it is.
It’s not just that Roby can make tackles on the edge when he needs to, or that he reportedly can run a 4.31 in the 40-yard-dash. It’s not even the fact he made 47 tackles over the course of his 13 starts last season as a redshirt freshman, or that his three interceptions tied Orhian Johnson for the most in 2011.
While those things obviously matter, Roby means so much more to this OSU squad than just the tangible qualities he brings to the table.
The kid is already a leader—even if he’s just now entering his second season of play (Roby was redshirted in 2010).
While it’s unlikely he’s John Simon in terms of his ability to command the respect of his entire team, Roby is already and will be a visible, familiar face in and around the program.
What can be expected of him?
Photo by Jim Davidson
Roby is listed at the Buckeyes’ top cornerback this fall camp and clearly will need to produce in order to stay in that role.
Fans are expecting Roby to be an absolute ball-hawk flying all over the field. They’re going to expect him to turn the shades of greatness he showed last season into consistent play week in and week out. The Buckeyes need Roby to be someone who can shut down the opposing team’s best wide receiver. Additionally, he will be expected to slam the door shut on any outside runs that come his way.
Really, Roby is going to be expected to do it all on defense—and maybe even on the other side of the ball.
While Fickell, head coach Urban Meyer and teammates all say there aren’t any plans in the works to integrate the sophomore as a part of their offensive strategy, Roby has happily and openly talked about the prospect of being a two-way player.
Maybe he would even a three-way player if the cornerback is asked to potentially return kicks, something Roby has been doing with the first group this fall.
What Would the Buckeyes Do Without Him?
Besides simply missing out on a true talent on the edge, OSU would be without arguably one of its most promising young cornerbacks in recent memory. Though Roby has a lot to prove in 2012—even Meyer said the sophomore wasn’t challenged in the spring—it seems like Roby’s presence, like any sort of impact player, will gauge how a once-vaunted defense responds from a disaster like last season.
His performance, however, isn’t determined what we in the media say about him. Roby is the one who decides if he becomes the next Malcolm Jenkins or not.
Most Important: No. 11 Zach Boren
Most Important: No. 12 C.J. Barnett
Most Important: No. 13 Devin Smith
Most Important: No. 14 Corey Brown
Most Important: No. 15 Jordan Hall
Most Important: No. 16 Christian Bryant
Most Important: No. 17 Reid Fragel
Most Important: No. 18 Ben Buchanan
Most Important: No. 19 Michael Bennett
Most Important: No. 20 Drew Basil