Football

Morning Constitutional: What Does Damon Arnette’s Return Mean for 2019?

Damon Arnette Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Today’s Topic: What Does Damon Arnette’s Return Mean for 2019?


Fourth-year junior cornerback Damon Arnette announced via social media on Friday that he is returning for his fifth-and-final season at Ohio State.

At this point, it looks like cornerback Kendall Sheffield is the last remaining Buckeye who has yet to make a decision. As of a day or two ago, sources had Sheffield leaning towards entering the 2019 NFL Draft.

With Arnette back — and Sheffield expected to leave — the Buckeye cornerbacks didn’t take as big of a hit as they could have. Had they lost both cornerbacks, they would be returning just two cornerbacks with experience. That is not an ideal situation for a defense that tries to rotate three throughout the game.

Now with Arnette’s return, Ohio State knows they will have at least three cornerbacks that they can rely upon. Rising junior Jeff Okudah will be back for his second season in the rotation, and Shaun Wade proved himself as a redshirt freshman this past season. Wade moved from corner to nickel to safety throughout the year, but is expected to move to corner full time in 2019.

Arnette has been the team’s nickel in the past, and as a boundary cornerback this past season he dealt with physical receivers all year long. He is a veteran defender who should be playing at his best in his fifth season.

Arnette finished fifth in solo tackles this past season (31) and tied for fourth (35) in 2017. He doesn’t shy from run support and plays with the kind of confidence required of the position.

It will be interesting to see what impact a new position coach has on him. There didn’t appear to be much difference in his performances between Kerry Coombs and Taver Johnson, but perhaps there will be a cumulative effect from all of the teachings he has experienced.

There are some Buckeye fans who aren’t overly thrilled that Arnette has returned, but his experience cannot be denied.

If Sheffield does leave for the NFL, there will be just three experienced corners on the team, with young players like Sevyn Banks, Marcus Williamson, Cameron Brown, and Tyreke Johnson all looking for an opportunity.

The thing is, Arnette’s presence doesn’t keep them from getting that opportunity. The three best cornerbacks will play, and there are new coaches making those decisions.

The slates have been cleaned. The opportunities will be renewed.

Having Damon Arnette back for the Buckeyes is a very good thing, and if he is as bad as a few Buckeye fans think, then he won’t be winning a job in the rotation anyway.

So what do you have to lose?

8 Responses

  1. Looking forward to seeing what the new DB coaches can do with these guys. The DB room took a step back going from Coombs to Johnson, IMO.

  2. “Having Damon Arnette back for the Buckeyes is a very good thing”

    Absolutely!

    I’ve not seen many times that raw speed and lack of experience could win over speed plus experience. Raw speed+inexperience= penalties+ opponent scores in TOO many past situations.

  3. I am glad he is back. He is a good player, and his interception against Northwestern was a very important play.
    Had he gone, he would have been one of the first 8 corners drafted. If there are three corners better than him on our roster, he won’t play much–and we have a lot more talent at corner than it seemed.
    At any rate, he has given Ohio State four years, and I think we should be grateful to any player who gives us four or more years.

  4. Was hoping beyond hope that Arnette would leave. He cannot cover, gets lost easily in coverage takes poor angles, gets caught inside and does not stay in contain outside on run plays, has too many PI penalties. He was one of Coombs favorites and never has proven he can play. Hope Sheffield leaves, Wade and Okudah deservextge opportunity to be the ones. Sect Banks is a comer.

  5. Wade and Okudah have things under control. Arnette has been one of thos mystery guys. He’s great when he’s in position, but he’s out of position way too often.

    But it does bring up a question, I’d actually like to know the answer to. For that record setting string of long runs against us this year, who were the guys on the field most when they happened?

    Arnette has always had huge potential, but he’s not a lock down guy. If he was, he would have been gone after 3 years. So him coming back is nice in the sense that it’s another body and that will be a luxury. But I sure hope that doesn’t inspire him getting playing time ahead of Wade and Odukah unless he earns it. I didn’t keep count, I don’t know if he had more great plays or more “oh no” plays, but his name is certainly associated with “oh no” more than either of the other two.

  6. Wade and Okudah have things under control. Arnette has been one of thos mystery guys. He’s great when he’s in position, but he’s out of position way too often.

    But it does bring up a question, I’d actually like to know the answer to. For that record setting string of long runs against us this year, who were the guys on the field most when they happened?

    Arnette has always had huge potential, but he’s not a lock down guy. If he was, he would have been gone after 3 years. So him coming back is nice in the sense that it’s another body and that will be a luxury. But I sure hope that doesn’t inspire him getting playing time ahead of Wade and Odukah unless he earns it. I didn’t keep count, I don’t know if he had more great plays or more “oh no” plays, but his name is certainly associated with “oh no” more than either of the other two.

  7. In related news, I’ve decided to take my commenting skills to the big leagues.

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