COLUMBUS — Lathan Ransom didn’t enroll early at Ohio State last season.
So even in a pandemic-shortened spring, Ransom didn’t have the chance to make that first impression with the early-enrollees. He showed up for the Buckeyes in June, and he also wasn’t given the chance to make an impact in blowout nonconference games.
Yet when the Buckeyes needed their defensive backs the most in the Sugar Bowl semifinal win over Clemson, Ransom was on the field making key plays for the secondary that struggled all year. He flashed.
His late-season surge was unexpected by many. But that seems to be just the beginning of a breakout coming for the second-year defensive back from Arizona. He’s making moves up the depth chart again this spring. The praise Ransom is drawing through the spring starts at the top.
“He really came on for us and played well,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Especially in the semifinal game against Clemson, really competed. He showed that he could do that in practice. Because of that, he had an opportunity to do it. It was hard this year we just didn’t have a lot of those games where we could throw some of those guys in there and find out.
“When he was in the game, he hadn’t done a whole bunch leading up to the end of the year, so to see him play like that was very encouraging.”
Ransom has since continued to show encouraging signs, using that breakout performance against Clemson as a springboard to a heavier load in the backend this spring. Ransom can play anywhere in the secondary, and he seems to have already picked up on what it takes to play at a high level for the Buckeyes.
And his development is far ahead of schedule, especially for a player who didn’t have a normal freshman year with time to settle in. For Ransom, trial by fire in the Big Ten title game, Sugar Bowl win and national championship game worked well.
“He’s actually developing pretty fast,” Ohio State starting safety Josh Proctor said. “He’s going to be a guy a lot of people are going to hear about next year. Even after last year, yeah he played a bit at the end of the season, but I feel like that kind of boosted his confidence. He came into this offseason also proving stuff with that chip on his shoulder wanting to be better.”