COLUMBUS — Like any elite cornerback, Shaun Wade can change directions quickly.
The Ohio State star is once again proving his ability to adapt on the fly and surprise anybody trying to figure out where he’s heading.
One day after the Big Ten reversed its decision and put in plan a place to start playing in October, Wade flipped his decision to opt out of the Buckeyes season. The captain will be returning to Columbus to suit up one more time for Ryan Day’s program.
“Really, I just can’t let my brothers down,” Wade told Lettermen Row on Thursday. “I’ve got to play. And when they announced the season on my birthday, it was a sign.
“There was no clarity [last week], and now there’s some clarity going on with a season and with the protocols and everything. I feel comfortable playing with the season going on now. But at the end of the day, I knew I wanted to come back. That was where my heart was. I came back the first time for a reason, and that’s to win a national championship.”
The Buckeyes again have one in reach after a fall season was reinstated by the conference with a start date scheduled on Oct. 23 or 24. Wade is expected to return to Columbus by the end of the week as he seeks to opt back with Ohio State after holding off on signing with an agent.
On Wednesday, Wade and his father, Randy, appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and said the decision came down to trusting whether or not the league’s protocols for a safe return to play. The young cornerback — who has graduated from Ohio State — was in Florida, working out on his own rather than risking injury in practice in Columbus when there was no guarantee of a return to the field for the Buckeyes this fall.
Now that Ohio State is heading back to the field, Wade is heading back to Ohio State after breaking down the options with his family.
Wade had initially decided to return to the Buckeyes with one goal in mind: To win a national championship.
“I feel like we’re going to have a great team next year,” Wade said last January. “I feel like we’re going to be elite. I want to be part of it.”
For Kerry Coombs and Ohio State, having Wade be a part of it is was, and is, essential. While there’s no shortage of depth in Columbus, there were questions about experience in the secondary for this season.
Shaun Wade has erased those doubts for the Buckeyes — again.