Buckeye Players, Coaches Rely on Each Other to Keep ‘DBU’ Prospering

Marshon Lattimore Ohio State Football Buckeyes

At Ohio State, there is a long lineage of cornerbacks who have gone on to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Twelve Buckeye corners have been selected in the first round since 1991, including five in the last five years. That is the type of consistency that recruits like to hear about, and it has been an important recruiting tool for Ohio State over the years.

“It is extremely important because that is what guys want to find out,” OSU cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said this spring.

The allure of being made good enough to play in the NFL is huge, but there is a flip side involved as well. For Johnson, he is looking for the best cornerbacks in the nation because he has some goals of his own.

“When you have guys at any level really that are coming and looking at a school and looking at multiple schools, especially at this level, it is all about, ‘How can you enhance me?'” he explained. “But then I flip the table on them and say, ‘How can you enhance me, as well?’ This is a reciprocal relationship here, I want to be the best corner coach in the country just like you want to be the best corner in the country.”

Their respective goals can be achieved on the same path, which allows coaches and players to work in unison.

“I think making sure they understand that we have to work hand-in-hand,” he said. “We have to have that understanding and be willing to make sure we cut all barriers down and when it is time to roll our sleeves up and get to work, and as long as anybody is willing to do that, we will definitely take off.”

Not only is there a desire to work with the best coaches, but once a cornerback recruit becomes a Buckeye, they want to make sure they leave the program better than when they arrived.

Once a program gets a label like “DBU,” nobody wants to lose it. There is a standard at every position at Ohio State and they all need to be lived up to or exceeded. That is never easy, and it was never promised to be easy.

For the competitors that the Buckeyes are looking for, those young players they bring in do not want that standard to dip on their watch. The current players feed off of the past successes in search of present and future successes.

“Big time,” Johnson said of OSU’s history playing into its present. “That is the thing about The Ohio State University, you are right in our meeting room, we have fat heads up of all of those guys from (Gareon) Conley to (Marshon) Lattimore to Malcolm Jenkins to Vinnie Clark to Shawn Springs, it can go on-and-on, and those guys understand the expectation and they see those guys come back.”

That is another interesting aspect of DBU. Much like alums will donate money to their respective alma maters, at Ohio State, past players come back to make sure the legacy is being carried on.

“They just don’t see them once they leave in the draft and on Sundays, those guys come back, and they work with those guys,” Johnson said. “They talk to them, they have them understand the expectation that everyone has to live up to, especially myself. Having that right in front of us, that makes us go to work.”