Freshman Corners Understand Coombs’ Departure

Kerry Coombs Grandkids


They say players should never sign with a school because of a coach. A coach can leave at any time, so players should always choose a school for the school, because the school isn’t going anywhere.

Of course, that’s easier said than done because coaches are recruiting draws in and of themselves.

One such recruiting draw is former Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs. When Coombs first arrived at OSU, he said that one of his job requirements was to go out and sign the two best cornerback recruits in the country every year. He proved to be one of the best recruiters in the nation, and in turn produced more first-round corners in a four-year stretch than any coach in the history of football.

So yes, Coombs was absolutely a recruiting draw.

Ohio State signed two cornerbacks in the 2018 recruiting cycle — Tyreke Johnson and Sevyn Banks — and both players enrolled this past January.

They were excited to be coached by Coombs, so when he decided to leave OSU for the Tennessee Titans, it shocked everybody.

“Coach Coombs is a man, so he came to us and he told us man-to-man, the DB group he told us man-to-man,” Johnson said. “He was like ‘We have got to have tough conversations, and this is a tough conversation.’ He told us and we gave him our blessing because at the end of the day we can be mad and bitter about it, but that is selfish of us.

“Here at Ohio State, what I have learned so far is they don’t teach selfishness. We just learned it is truly for our better benefit because he is going be the same guy that can stand up to bat when the NFL asks about our character and what kind of players they are. He is going to be the guy that will stand up for us and be our voice.”

Coombs didn’t want the players finding out from the media that he was leaving and he wanted it to come from him.

There was sadness in the room because Coombs was telling them something that none of them wanted to hear, but they understood.

“He was sad, but he loves us still,” Banks said. “Nothing has changed from his perspective. Nothing changed about him. I don’t think about him differently. I’m not really mad. He’s still going to show us support and love, and I’m still going to show him support and love. He’s got to do what’s best for his family.”

One of the things that Banks liked about Coombs was that he was blunt in his coaching and he taught with full-tilt effort. The good news for Banks and his fellow cornerbacks is that he will still get that from new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson because there is no sugar-coating behind the scenes and there are no lazy days for the coaches.

Banks and Johnson came to Ohio State to be coached by Kerry Coombs, but they also came to Ohio State because of Ohio State.

Even though they never played for Coombs, the relationship that both Banks and Johnson built up with him during recruitment and winter workouts made them happy for the coach that they had grown very close to.

“It’s been very easy because, who am I to get mad at him?” Johnson said. “I was proud of him. Everyone was proud of him. That’s the reason why I came here because Coach Coombs is more than just a coach. He’s a great man in your life, he is a great father, he’s a great husband and what he did was something that I expect any real man to do for their family.

“He was able to, you know, when he took this job, it opened up opportunities for him and his family to spend more time together. He made a decision that was better for him and his family. He put his personal wants and needs to the side and made a decision for his family, so at the end of the day, that’s what a great man does.”