When the Buffalo Bills selected Nate Clements with the 21st pick of the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, it marked the first time in NFL history that a single school had three cornerbacks drafted in the first round over a three-year period. Clements joined Ahmed Plummer (2000) and Antoine Winfield (1999) to complete the feat.
That accomplishment has been unmatched by any school since. On Friday, however, the Buckeyes outdid even themselves when cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley were drafted in the first round, giving them three total — along with Eli Apple in 2016 — over just the past two years.
Plenty of teams over the years have produced two first-round cornerbacks in back-to-back years, including Alabama, LSU, Miami, and even Michigan State. This is now the third time Ohio State has done it, which is also unmatched.
But that’s only part of the story.
Since Kerry Coombs came to Ohio State to be the Buckeyes’ cornerbacks coach in 2012, OSU has produced four first-round picks at cornerback. Along with Lattimore and Conley in 2017, and Apple in 2016, Bradley Roby was selected by Denver in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
That’s four first-round picks over the last four years, which — you guessed it — is also a first in NFL history.
In just five years as Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach, Coombs has now set two NFL Draft records.
The numbers get even more startling when you take a look at what Coombs and the Buckeyes have done compared to the rest of the Big Ten.
In the last four years, Coombs has produced more first-round picks at cornerback than any other Big Ten team over the last 20 years.
In fact, over the last four years, Coombs has produced as many first-round corners as Michigan has over the last 40 years.
And no Big Ten team has produced more first-round corners over the last 40 years than Coombs and the Buckeyes have in just the last four years.
I’ll wait until you stop shaking your head in amazement before I move on.
Amazingly, Ohio State might not be done. Recruiting and development are at an all-time high for the Buckeyes and there are players like Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette, and Kendall Sheffield who might be next in line.
It goes even beyond that, as behind them are some of the nation’s best cornerback signees in Shaun Wade, Jeffrey Okudah, and Marcus Williamson who should still be in high school, but spent the spring enrolled at OSU and working.
There are other players not even mentioned who should be mentioned, but at this point you get the idea. What is happening at Ohio State over the last few years has never happened before.
The truly remarkable thing is that the Buckeyes might just be getting started.