After a week of mostly bad news around the Ohio State football program, redshirt sophomore cornerback Shaun Wade has provided some very good news by announcing his decision to return to OSU for his redshirt junior season. He announced his decision via a YouTube video from Lettermen Row.
Wade has been projected as highly as a late-first round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. By coming back, he will no doubt hope to improve his stock by also showcasing his ability to play outside corner instead of just his customary inside corner spot that he played in 2019.
Wade was a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection this past season. He finished with 25 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, one interception, eight PBUs, and one forced fumble.
The Ohio State defense had a major overhaul last offseason. Co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley brought in a system with one deep safety and three corners. Wade played the slot corner, and did it very well.
In fact, the defense was at its best when Wade was on the field. When he wasn’t on the field, it was extremely noticeable.
Wade missed the Michigan game. In that game, Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 250 yards in the first half.
When Wade was ejected from the Fiesta Bowl for sacking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers immediately went on a 21-0 run. And then when Clemson needed a score in the last two minutes, they threw the ball right down the field without any problem.
With Wade returning, the Buckeyes avoid losing all four starters from the secondary and they now know where to start their foundation.
Cameron Brown and Sevyn Banks will be third-year cornerbacks in 2020 and played extensively this past season. They are expected to be ready to make the move into the starting lineup.
Josh Proctor will also be entering his third season in 2020, but as was shown in the Fiesta Bowl, he still has a ways to go to be able to be the last line of defense as well as Jordan Fuller was in 2019.
But in getting Shaun Wade back, the Buckeyes will have the best cornerback in the Big Ten and one of the best defensive backs in the nation, and that’s a pretty good start to building a new secondary.