The Buckeyes left spring camp with a top three rotation at cornerback of Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield, and Jeff Okudah. That trio isn’t set in stone, however, as fall camp can increase the number if second-year players like Marcus Williamson and Shaun Wade show that they belong.
Both players showcased themselves well this spring. If they continue to progress, then the Ohio State defense may end up deeper at corner than they’ve ever been.
For Williamson, however, he’s not just focused on landing a position out wide. His quickness has made him an ideal candidate to work the nickel against slot receivers. He excelled in that role this spring.
“He’s done a good job,” cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said. “He’s played a lot at the nickel spot, he’s played on the outside at corner. Marcus probably has the quickest feet in our room, which is something that’s a big attribute, and he’s tough. He’s a tough individual so he’s done a nice job and he has been rotating as well.”
Whether it’s inside or outside, Williamson remains a student of the game, and brings out what he’s learned in any role he steps into.
“I just try to play the technique we were taught,” he said. “You know, press man, man-to-man, one-on-one, island, that’s what we are brought here to do.”
Before a cornerback or wide receiver or linebacker can make an impact on one side of the ball or the other, they must first make an impact on special teams.
With their speed and tackling ability, the reliance on young cornerbacks in kick coverage should never be overlooked. It is a very important task, and one that they learn to take seriously very early on. The reliance of the coaches combined with the production and time on the field for a young corner can go a long way in preparing him for his eventual role on defense. It has for Marcus Williamson.
“Special teams here are such a big part of the game,” he said. “You feel really important, you know it’s important and you just have to go out there and execute. And it’s the same thing on defense. So once you make that transition maybe just from special teams to defense and special teams, it’s not really a big scare factor.”
Williamson has now gone through his second winter and second spring of Ohio State football, and has seen improvement every step of the way.
“A year in the program, I feel like I have gotten a little bigger, stronger thanks to Coach Mick and Coach Coombs and now Coach Johnson helping me out and just trying to take those steps to help the team,” he said.
And as to how he can make an impact for the Buckeyes this year, he’s not about to pigeonhole his contributions. He’ll make himself available for wherever the need is greater.
“However I can help,” he said. “You know, just trying to get on the field, special teams, corner, nickel, whatever that may be. I’m just trying to help.”