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Josh Proctor hit caps B1G title win, hints at more to come for Buckeyes

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Ohio State safety Josh Proctor is getting healthier, more confident for Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Josh Proctor hit caps B1G title win, hints at more to come for Buckeyes

INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State safety Josh Proctor bisected the field, sighted his target and squared up Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan.

The ensuing collision punctuated the come-from-behind win in the Big Ten Championship for the Buckeyes, quite literally ending the game on the final snap and leaving Coan splayed on the sideline, heads on helmet and assistance from a teammate required to rise.

It even left Brutus the Buckeye covering his eyes, just steps away on the sideline.

More than anything, though, it showed exactly what Proctor can become for Ohio State in the future.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety from Owasso, Oklahoma, has flashed all the skills of Ohio State’s current stalwart at the position, Jordan Fuller — as well as those of recent program greats such as Vonn Bell and Malik Hooker.

It also revealed Proctor has emerged from a bevy of nagging injuries back to a healthy status and ready to contribute — both in the upcoming College Football Playoffs and as heir apparent to Fuller.

Josh Proctor-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State safety Josh Proctor is starting to flash for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“I’ve had a lot of injuries this season,” Proctor said, moments after celebrating the Buckeyes third-straight conference title by lying down on the Lucas Oil Field turf to make confetti angels. “But, you know, I just keep my head, keep my composure and just keep going out there and try to prove that I can be here.”

Moreover, Proctor wanted to make sure his teammates never had to question his commitment to the program.

“It was very important to be there for them,” he said. “You never just want to leave your teammates out there to dry.”

Proctor’s defensive brethren long have anticipated in volume the type of bone-jarring hit that Proctor uncorked to deny Coan the end zone and preserve yet another double-digit win for the Buckeyes — the latest going down as No. 23 since the start of last season.

But that tackle wasn’t a surprise to the Buckeyes. Proctor had been turning heads way back in preseason camp as he started developing into a future force.

“He has about, like, eight interceptions,” said defensive back Jeff Okudah back in August. “He’s really rangy. I think he’s really talented.”

And by midseason, co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley praised Proctor’s progress despite the injuries that prevented him in appearing in three games.

“I think Josh Proctor has made really good improvement,” Hafley said in October. “I think he’s worked really hard.”

With his first career interception now secured and three pass break-ups on the season to showcase his versatility, Proctor has persevered through the injuries and positioned himself to take the next step.

“Finishing the season off right, I’ve got to go out with a bang,” Proctor told Lettermen Row. “The injuries were just time-consuming. Just trying to keep your head in there, staying focused.

“But this is doing nothing but helping me prepare for next year.”

Proctor has also been preparing by continuing to glean wisdom from Fuller, helping solidify the foundation for a greater role in the future.

“Oh yeah, definitely big,” Proctor said. “Jordan helps me out a lot, I mean I follow him. He’s a leader to me. I look up to him.”

With hits like the one that capped the undefeated regular season for the Buckeyes, Josh Proctor could be the guy in the future who serves as example to players just like himself.

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Mark
Mark

I love the Buckeyes and wish the best for Josh Proctor, but it seems strange and in poor taste to celebrate a hit by noting that it left Coan “splayed on the sidelines” requiring “assistance from a teammate to rise.” This is especially true given that Proctor’s hit probably should have been flagged for targeting.

swobuckeye
swobuckeye

QB was a RB, not a defenseless player. Hit looks good to me.
https://youtu.be/fPsvUFmwPXE

Brunstar
Brunstar

+1. What was Proctor supposed to do? Let Coan score a touchdown? Coan tucked the ball and ran, he was no longer a protected QB. Don’t want none, don’t start none.

Buck298
Buck298

You need to see the hit from other camera angles. It clearly was not targeting. And as a reminder, football is a full contact sport, this was a clean hit.

Mark
Mark

It looked like targeting to me, but I admit that I haven’t seen the different camera angles. Regardless, I still think it’s in poor taste to celebrate a hit — clean or not — by noting that it left the quarterback splayed on the ground, hands on his helmet (though the article says “heads on helmet), and requiring assistance to rise. Everything this article says about Josh Proctor’s work ethic, perseverance, and positive attitude could have been written without including how the hit impacted Coan. That’s my opinion, and I’m fine with getting negged for it.

Thomas Voytko
Thomas Voytko

Malik Hooker, Vonn Bell? After that hit hit on Coan, I see Jack Tatum. The second coming of the Assassin.

John Brice

With more than 20 years’ experience, John Brice is an award-winning journalist and former sideline reporter who primarily has covered SEC athletics, including a lengthy stint on the University of Tennessee beat.

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