[This is the sixth in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]
Sevyn Banks came to Ohio State from Jones High School in Orlando, Florida. He was the No. 23 cornerback in the 2018 recruiting class and the No. 223 player overall. Banks signed with Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Bethune-Cookman, Florida, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Kennesaw State, and many others. The Buckeyes offered shortly after his junior season, which he missed due to an ACL tear.
If a true freshman was looking for playing time last season, being a cornerback was a sure way not to get it. The Buckeyes returned five of their top six corners from the season before, which meant it was going to be difficult for Sevyn Banks to see time on defense.
For much of the season, it looked like Banks was going to redshirt. He didn’t play in any of the Buckeyes’ first eight games. It wasn’t until game nine against Nebraska that Banks saw his first action, with the vast majority of his playing time coming on special teams.
Banks’ tallied his only tackle of the season on the road at Maryland. He topped that career first the following week when he caught a blocked punt against Michigan and returned it 33 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.
Had the Michigan game been the final game he played in last season, he would have maintained his redshirt. Instead, the decision was made to continue playing him on special teams in the two postseason games as well.
So Now What
The Buckeyes lost a starting cornerback when Kendall Sheffield declared early for the NFL Draft, but they will still return two of their starting three corners in Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette.
Banks will likely be one of four cornerbacks competing to break into the top three. Redshirt sophomore Shaun Wade may have the best opportunity, provided he doesn’t stay at safety. Redshirt sophomore Marcus Williamson has battled injuries, but fits in well in nickel situations. You also have Banks’ fellow classmates Tyreke Johnson and Cameron Brown. Johnson redshirted, but Brown played in the first five games on special teams.
All told, Banks saw more time on the field than any of his classmates, but he saw about the same amount of action at cornerback as they did, which is to say almost none.
New co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley said that he didn’t understand why Ohio State was running a three-man rotation at cornerback until he kept seeing cornerbacks end up in the NFL. He has changed his philosophy and now feels that if there are three who are good enough to play, then they should play.
This is no different than the philosophy employed by Kerry Coombs or Taver Johnson. The key is having three guys good enough to start. Ohio State should be able to continue their three-man rotation with Okudah, Arnette, and Wade.
Banks will likely be a reserve in 2019, but the Buckeyes are expected to take a heavy NFL hit at corner after the season. Those who are reserves this season will be the first in line to start in 2020, especially since no cornerbacks were signed in the 2019 recruiting class.