Looking at Ohio State's 2014 Cornerback Depth Chart
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even though Friday night was not a good one for the Buckeyes, we did get a glimpse into the future of what the Ohio State secondary could look like. With Doran Grant and Armani Reeves at cornerback, and Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell behind them to start the Orange Bowl, that's a pretty good guess at what the initial 2014 depth chart will be.
It wasn't an entirely bad weekend, however, as Saturday brought the verbal commitments of defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith out of Glenville. Lattimore is the nation's #5 cornerback per 247 Sports and Smith is the #6 safety per Scout. Even though Smith is considered a safety by the recruiting services, he played cornerback at the Army All-American Bowl, and played exceptionally well. Both players will have an opportunity to compete for a spot right away, though for the purposes of this piece, we'll keep Smith with the safeties for now.
Cornerback is going to be a very interesting position to watch for the Buckeyes in 2014, so what better time to start watching than right now. With that in mind, let's take a look at the cornerback options for Ohio State next season.
Doran Grant (Sr. 5-11 191)
Grant was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten performer this season, and finished fifth on the Buckeyes with 58 tackles. His 13 passes defended were good for sixth in the conference. He will likely move to the boundary cornerback spot full time next year replacing Bradley Roby, and if he can rack up 58 tackles further away from the ball playing the field corner, his numbers should only go up next season on the boundary.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Armani Reeves (Jr. 5-10 198)
Reeves started three games this season, including the Orange Bowl. That puts him out in front of all of the other contenders for the second cornerback spot, though this slot will be one of the more entertaining battles to watch through spring and fall camp. Reeves has had his ups and downs at cornerback, but his experience gives him an edge.
Cam Burrows (So. 6-0 205)
Burrows was fairly impressive in his limited snaps, and the future is clearly bright for him. He broke up two passes this season, and didn't face an awful lot of throws. With the experience that he got he will be one of the favorites to land the field corner position opposite Grant. He was also on the depth chart as the dime back, so he could also be in the mix at star next season, as the Buckeyes will likely be looking for a replacement at that spot with Tyvis Powell possibly moving to safety full time.
Gareon Conley (rFr. 6-2 185)
There was a summer practice fairly early during camp when both Bradley Roby and Armani Reeves were injured, and lo and behold it was Conley running with the ones. Ultimately, the coaches decided to redshirt him, but the fact that he flashed so early would make you think he could do it again after a year of practice.
Eli Apple (rFr. 6-1 194)
Reading between the lines, Urban Meyer believes he made a mistake in redshirting Apple. The lack of playing time will likely set him back a bit for next season, but with the sheer number of practices – including the Big Ten Championship Game, the bowl game, the spring and the summer – a redshirt freshman shouldn't have too much of an issue making noise. Apple's talent and measurables should put him squarely in the mix next season.
Damon Webb (Fr. 5-10 179)
Rivals ranks Webb the #5 cornerback in the 2014 recruiting class, and all four recruiting services have him in the top eight. He is an aggressive defender who excels at close-quarter battling. He may not be the 6-1 cornerback that some prefer, but he is comfortable playing press man, and will trigger on the ball with a burst. It would not be a surprise to see him involved in 2014.
Marshon Lattimore (Fr. 6-0 178)
Like Webb, Lattimore is a very highly-rated prospect. As mentioned above, 247 has him as the #5 cornerback. Scout ranks him eighth. ESPN and Rivals both rank him as an athlete, with Rivals having him #3 overall and ESPN #6. He is also a tremendous wide receiver, and was initially rated a five-star prospect at that position by Scout.
2014 Depth Chart at Safety
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