You don’t need a measuring tape and a stopwatch to know that Ohio State’s secondary is tall and fast. All you need to do is watch them for a bit. You’ll notice the size immediately. The speed will show itself soon enough.
The Buckeyes are replacing three secondary starters from last season, and all four spots this year will be manned by someone new.
Shaun Wade moves from the slot to one of the two outside corners. He’s the one known quantity of the group, but new defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kerry Coombs has already seen plenty to like.
Mainly, size and speed.
“Rather than get into too many specifics because I don’t want to leave a kid out, here’s what we have: Long, fast corners. Which is exactly what we recruited. Long, fast corners, the whole time that we were here,” Coombs said. “We have fast safeties. We have kids that are going to be able to have range.”
Of the seven cornerbacks currently on the Ohio State roster, only one is listed under 6-feet tall. Four are over 6-feet tall, and two come in right at that 6-foot mark.
If you average it all together, the typical Buckeye cornerback this spring is 6-0.5 and 194 pounds. The average safety is just as tall, but 11 pounds heavier.
Wade is the prototype. He’s tall with long arms, listed at 6-1 and 195 pounds. It is almost like Ohio State had a 3-D printer when it comes to corners.
Senior Marcus Williamson is the small guy of the group at 5-10 186, but he’s shown himself to be plenty physical when healthy.
Safety isn’t much different, especially with the 6-foot-1 221-pound Kourt Williams there this spring. Presumed free safety starter Josh Proctor is 6-2 205 with range and has earned comparisons to Malik Hooker.
So even though the Buckeyes need to find three new starters, when Coombs looked over the secondary this winter, he saw the same kind of guys he’s seen all along at Ohio State.
“So if you think about the secondaries that we’ve had with Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley and Denzel Ward and Eli Apple and Bradley Roby and who did I leave out? You think about those kinds of players, we have them here,” he said. “I’m looking at the room and I see that. So now my job is to develop them into those kind of players.”
Coombs has seen guys emerge as stars in just one season of starting. Malik Hooker did it. Lattimore did it. And he’s also seen his players simply become very solid starters who then grew into first-round picks.
The path for each player is different, but Coombs can already see the finish line.
“We’re going to be fast, we’re going to be able to cover the field, we’re going to be able to cover the receivers, we’re going to be active in the game and so I’m excited about the full range,” he said last month.
“From the guys that are here, who have been here for three weeks, to the guys that have been here for three and four years. I’m really excited about all of it.”