At Ohio State, a player must constantly evolve to either protect his position as a starter or to earn playing time. Since the end of the 2016 season, safety Damon Webb has been working and improving his craft to become an impact player for the Buckeyes in 2017. Webb, now a senior and one of the elder statesmen of the program, is one of just two starters returning from a 2016 secondary that essentially featured five starters.
With OSU looking for three new starters in the secondary, Webb must be a leader on and off the field. On the field, he needs to get players where they are supposed to be. Off the field, he will need to do the same thing. Leadership has no days off, and now that he is comfortable with his own job, he is better equipped to help others with theirs.
“I just think I’m learning the game more, the ins and outs of the defense, and basically being more of a leader for the young guys,” Webb said this spring. “I know I’m the only starter coming back, so I’m just trying to enhance things. It’s been going really well. I would say that this has been my best spring. I’ve just been working on the stuff that Coach Schiano talked about that I need to enhance, so I feel like it’s been a good spring.”
Webb has played in 28 games, starting 13 of them while recording 70 career tackles and one interception. In 2016, he was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten. The experience is now there for Damon Webb, and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has found comfort with his senior safety.
“Well, I think he has a lot of experience now under his belt. So I think when you go through that first year with really playing the position, every snap, you have all that tape to go back and learn from,” Schiano said. “You have the good experiences to expand upon. Then you have the bad ones that you say, ‘I’ve got to get that fixed, that hurt me.’ He did an incredible job of studying himself and then he tried to take those things and implement them this spring and really worked hard.”
This will be Webb’s final year with the Buckeyes, yet he still has many things to prove. When any player leaves their university, they want to be remembered fondly by the coaches and fan base. This is where Webb is right now and Schiano can sense it.
“He’s got that one year left before he’s done with his college career,” Schiano said. “You can see an increased urgency in everything he’s doing. And you know we had our exit meetings with our players, and it was an interesting one with Damon. I think he’s an incredibly focused guy right now.”
Moving forward, it will be up to Webb to not only make his impact felt on the field, but also influence the next generation of Buckeyes.
According to his coaches, they are getting just what they need out of a senior leader.