Unfinished Business Brought Roby Back to OSU
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Bradley Roby is a rarity in both talent and patience. He was good enough to play as a true freshman, yet he redshirted to better learn the cornerback position that he had only played as a high school senior.
Photo by Jim Davidson
He didn't expect to be on the sideline for long. He had always intended to start as a redshirt freshman. Those are lofty goals for most, but they were simply part of the plan for Roby.
As a redshirt freshman, he indeed ended up winning the job in 2011, and was the team's best cornerback. Last season, as a redshirt sophomore, he had an even better year, landing on a couple of All-American teams, as well as the All-Big Ten First Team.
As the season was winding down last year, Roby was asked about leaving for the NFL, and while he said that he wasn't really thinking about it, he did note that it was a positive that people were talking about it.
"It just shows me that I'm on the right path following my plan," he said at the time.
That plan has worked out very well for Roby, which made the NFL decision a difficult one last year because it wasn't really part of his plan just yet. Basically, it came a year too early.
"I didn't really feel like I was ready," he said last week.
"I came here with a plan. I told a guy a long time ago that I was going to be one of the best corners to ever play here, and I don't feel like I've accomplished that yet."
There are still things that Roby is focused on improving, and the most important among them is being a better leader. Roby has taken a very young group of cornerbacks under his wing and is coaching them up every single day, and he's doing it with a distinct purpose.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"That trait is going to carry me way farther on the football field and off the football field," he said.
"I just want to be a better leader, and everything else is going to fall into place. Everything will happen how it's supposed to. If I'm a better leader, the younger guys are going to be better. If the younger guys are going to be better, we're going to be better."
While Roby sounds perfectly content with his decision to return, that doesn't mean it was an easy one.
"It was 50/50," he admitted.
"It took me a while. I wasn't really sure. I had to think about it a lot and go over it. I talked to 10,000 people about it. I just prayed about it and then one day I just had that feeling that, 'Alright, I'm not ready yet.' I'm physically ready on the field and mentally, but it's just not my time yet."
Roby's decision was one that only he could make for himself. He couldn't make it for anybody else, and that was something that his position coach Kerry Coombs explained to him throughout this thought process.
"My conversations with him were 'Let's make this a business decision,'" Coombs explained.
"'Let's try to take the emotion out of it. We're going to be fine, Bradley, at Ohio State. We're going to win games if you're not here. Do I want you here? Absolutely. But let's for you make it a business decision.'
"And I just tried to give him the information and then get out of his face. It's not like recruiting. He's a grown man. He's got to make a grown-man decision, and he can't make it to please me, and he can't make it to please Coach Meyer, and he can't make it to please Buckeye Nation. He's got to make it to please Bradley Roby, and I think that he did."
That decision was made more difficult by the fact that the feedback that he got from the NFL was very positive.
"It was good feedback," he said.
"It was very good feedback. But I just decided that it was more important for me to stay and lead this team to greater things than we were able to accomplish last year.
"The NFL's not going anywhere. I'm not in a rush. As long as God allows me to be healthy this season, everything will still be there in place, and most likely better than it was last year. It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day I feel like I made the right one."
This plan that he has for his future even allows him to endure and overcome the economic struggles of being a college student.
"Everybody struggles in college. But at the end of the day, I have a vision for the future, and I see what's coming to me in the future. I'll be broke for a little bit longer, it's okay."
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