Ohio State had one of the best seasons in program history last year, and it came with the help of some young players. Now as the younger Buckeyes enter another year for the Buckeyes, they may be expected to take on expanded roles. Lettermen Row is breaking down a play from each key inexperienced Buckeye and how it can help provide a glimpse into each of their futures. Next up: Sevyn Banks can be a difference-maker in the Ohio State secondary.
COLUMBUS — Last season was a year of firsts at Ohio State for Sevyn Banks.
Sure, he had played on special teams during his first year on campus in 2018. But last season, Banks became a backup for the Buckeyes. And as the season progressed, he became more comfortable on the field.
The stats back that up.
Banks picked off his first career pass in the Oct. 18 win over Northwestern on the road. He started his first game against Rutgers a month later. He even made a few plays in the rivalry win over Michigan. Those were all great starting points for the junior cornerback. But he’s far from satisfied.
“You just can’t get complacent,” Banks said in December after the Big Ten title game. “And that’s in your whole life, honestly. You just have to keep working. I have a good future ahead of myself. I’m just going to keep soaking everything in, just worrying about the moment right now and just keep working, honestly. Just have to do what I do.”
Now with all the experienced he had a season ago, Banks can be a part of the secondary for Ohio State that is replacing both starting cornerbacks. Along with Cameron Brown, Banks had a huge, developmental spring ahead of him with new defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kerry Coombs.
But that got canceled, setting back the time for the Buckeyes to establish new faces in the starting lineup at cornerback. In the three practices Ohio State squeezed in before disease closed the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Banks looked stronger, faster and more physical, a sign that he’s committed to becoming a playmaker for the Silver Bullets.
If he continues on the trajectory, there are more firsts coming his way next year.
The play: Ohio State had already locked up yet another rivalry win over Michigan. As the final six minutes bled off the clock, the Buckeyes trotted out some of their backups to gain experience. That’s when Banks had a memorable pass break-up.
Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson thought he could take advantage of a one-on-one matchup with Banks on the outside, but he was wrong. Banks played right on Cornelius Johnson’s hip pocket and broke up the pass perfectly. He certainly got a hand on the ball, and he could have intercepted it with a little more luck.
But he put himself in a perfect position to break the play up, even from a press-coverage start. Maybe the ball was a bit under-thrown, but Banks’ ability to latch onto the receiver and play the ball without illegal contact shows his potential. He can bump a receiver at the line and still have the quickness to turn and run.
Ohio State will need plays like that if its going to replace Damon Arnette and Jeff Okudah, two NFL talents, next season in the secondary.
Shaun Wade will be back, so he’ll likely assume one of the cornerback spots. The other is up for grabs, and it might even come as a rotational spot between Banks and Cameron Brown.
He hasn’t even started the summer or fall camps yet, but Sevyn Banks has already shown he’s ready for a bigger role.