Ohio State got the work week off to a good start on Monday when 4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey committed to the Buckeyes. Woodbey is the third player in the 2018 class so far for Ohio State. He attends St. John Bosco in California, which is the same school that sent 4-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis to the Buckeyes in the 2017 class.
What kind of impact will Woodbey’s commitment have on Ohio State now and moving forward?
Woodbey is a 6-foot-2 205-pound safety out of Upland, California. He is rated as the No. 3 safety in the class of 2018 and the No. 4 player from the talent-rich state of California. The Buckeyes will find themselves down a couple of safeties after the 2017 season when Erick Smith and Damon Webb move on, so Woodbey will have a chance to come in and find himself competing for a spot early. He told me that he plans on enrolling at Ohio State early, which will allow him to participate in spring football. It will also allow Urban Meyer to not have to fight off the California schools for Woodbey’s services all the way up until signing day.
When I see Woodbey I see another Vonn Bell type of player. Bell was a standout at Ohio State for three seasons before leaving early for the NFL Draft in 2016 and being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round. Bell had a knack for being in the right place at the right time, as during his career at Ohio State he made quite a few key interceptions. Woodbey comes in a shade taller than Bell, and looks to be a bit faster as well. If Ohio State gets three years of production out of him along the lines of what the Buckeyes got from former 5-star Vonn Bell, they will be in good hands in the secondary. When asked about his strengths and weaknesses, Woodbey says that his strengths are covering along with his versatility, which are on display when you watch his highlights. He says that he still needs to work on being focused all the time, which was also a knock on Bell while he was at Ohio State.
Woodbey is a strong physical defender, who is not afraid to make the big hit or play. He will fit right in with what Ohio State has been recruiting at that position over the past few seasons. He compares himself to Landon Collins of the New York Giants. If that comparison holds true, then the Buckeyes are in for a treat as Collins was one of the premier college athletes in the country at Alabama, and parlayed that into being drafted No. 33 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Depth Chart
With the Buckeyes losing two true safeties after the 2017 season, that will leave them with just three on the roster in Jordan Fuller, Jahsen Wint and Isaiah Pryor. As such, Woodbey will have a chance to come in and crack the two-deep pretty early, and maybe even see some playing time early as a true freshman, like Vonn Bell did.
Woodbey has a bright future ahead of him at Ohio State. He comes into a situation where he is likely to see time on the field during his true freshman season, as he is planning on enrolling early allowing him to get a jump start on conditioning. Will he be a three-and-done player like so many Buckeyes before him? It is hard to predict that, as we have seen some guys only play one full season before declaring for the draft. Regardless, Buckeye fans should be happy with the defensive back recruiting in the past two classes, as they continue to bring in the nation’s top talent to lead the Silver Bullets.