The No. 5 player on this list is a former 5-star recruit, a former Alabama Crimson Tide, and a former junior college standout. Now he is in his second season in the starting cornerback rotation for the Buckeyes.
No. 5 — Kendall Sheffield, rJr. Cornerback
Kendall Sheffield’s career began at Alabama, then took a turn to junior college before he finally found his way to Ohio State. He arrived last season with the expectation that he would step into OSU’s starting rotation, which he did.
As a redshirt sophomore, Sheffield finished eighth on the team with 40 tackles and his nine PBUs was second most behind Denzel Ward.
Last year was a learning experience for Sheffield, whose ebbs and flows were dramatic. He got better each week, however, and his confidence grew.
This year, even more is expected. In fact, his name is appearing on all kinds of mock drafts already.
Sheffield came to Ohio State with immense expectations, and this should be the year when those expectations get met.
What He Does Well
Sheffield is arguably the fastest Buckeye on the team, so he runs very well. He is also an aggressive defender, to a fault at times last season.
He has no concerns about helping out against the run and will put his body wherever the assignment calls for it to be. Run support is part of the job description and he looks to enjoy living up to the billing.
Sheffield was a dynamic return man in junior college, but has not done any returning at OSU, and likely won’t. If he is going to make any noise in the return game, it will have to be on defense.
Sheffield broke up nine passes last season, but is still waiting for his first interception. His ability to find the football a blink sooner could allow him to get two hands on the ball moving forward instead of just one.
Kendall Sheffield in 2018
Kendall Sheffield should be completely comfortable this season. He knows what Ohio State is and what it takes. He ran track in the winter, which gives you an idea of how much more comfortable and at ease he is now.
That comfort should be on display this season, as will be his speed and physical nature.
In the spring, Sheffield was causing fumbles regularly, and that will need to continue this season if he is going to be the playmaker that everyone is expecting.
With his speed and return skills, any interception is an opportunity to score, as is any fumble recovery.
If Sheffield can find himself around the football more this season, expect him to also find the end zone.
What They Are Saying
“I think the sky is the limit for Kendall. He and I talked about that a couple of days ago. The one thing that he made a lot of strides at was really, really trying to be very detailed in exactly what we were asking him to do. I think he did the best job of that in terms of eye-placement, anything with the techniques and it showed up. It really did show up for him this spring and he made some great strides for sure. He is a physical guy and a physical specimen. Seeing him play physical a little bit more is what we talk about. He wants to. Most of that comes when you are trying to do it exact, you are thinking too much, now hopefully those instincts can take over now that he understands.” — Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson
“We all know that he’s able to show how much of a freak athlete he is with the track times and then coming back and having a really good performance this spring. He’s had about 10 forced fumbles. He’s a guy that when the receivers see him coming around, they all brace for impact.” — Cornerback Jeff Okudah
“He’s done a really nice job of just really concentrating on his eyes, because playing his position, for sure what you look at is everything and when you’re supposed to look at it. He’s done a really really good job and probably one of the best jobs in the room at making sure he does that. Whether it’s keeping my eyes to the hip, the receiver’s hands,whatever that may be, and it’s getting him in position even better, in terms of making plays.” — Taver Johnson