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Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes look to secondary for leadership in 2019

Ohio State-Jordan Fuller-Ohio State football-Buckeyes
The announcement of Jordan Fuller's return to Ohio State next season was huge for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes look to secondary for leadership in 2019

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more. 

Secondary could become leading group for Buckeyes

Every unit on defense has respected veterans returning. But maybe next season, it will be possible for Ohio State to lead from the back.

For the most part, the Buckeyes have been able to count on high-end production in the secondary for years now. But that wasn’t necessarily a place to go to look for a bunch of captains or guys willing to be the voice of the program inside and outside the locker room — not that there was anything wrong with that given their performances on the field.

Now that there are a handful of veterans who can blend both experience with what should be full-fledged development into the best versions of themselves on the field, it’s possible that the secondary could be a tone-setting unit for the Buckeyes next season. They already know what they have in returning captain Jordan Fuller after his somewhat surprising decision to return for another season at safety, and the rest of the projected starting lineup around him should be stocked with guys who have paid their dues and understand the standard with the program.

Sevyn Banks looking to build off blocked punt in The Game

Like almost every four-star recruit, there was a part of Sevyn Banks that envisioned doing more for the Buckeyes during his first year on campus. But right from the start, his chances of even competing for a role in the secondary were derailed by a wrist injury that had him in a brace before the opener and would limit him for most of the season.

Banks wound up participating in just six games and was officially credited with just one tackle. But he had made enough of an impression once he got healthy to earn a role as the “popper” for the punt-return unit. Banks was tasked with sniffing out fakes, trusted enough to be on the field against rival Michigan — and in position to deliver one of the most important plays of the season for the Buckeyes.

“Pretty good adjustment? It came right to him,” former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer joked. “I told him, ‘You got a gift.’ Caught it, ran — because he’s a fast kid, it’s a touchdown.

“But he really is coming on. Need more. I see part of it, he’s certainly a guy who caught our eye here, hurt for quite a while with a wrist issue, but he’s really come on.”

Another step forward will have to come for Banks to earn a role on defense.

Buckeyes set for in-home with Doug Nester

On Tuesday night, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day — along with assistant coaches Greg Studrawa and Kevin Wilson — made their final in-home visit with Indianapolis 3-star offensive tackle Dawand Jones. On Wednesday, that same group is expected to make their last pitch to longtime Ohio State commitment Doug Nester.

The Buckeyes first commit in the Class of 2019, Nester has been the program’s highest priority in this push toward the second signing period but the 6-foot-6, 310-pound offensive lineman has continued to befuddle the Buckeyes with his insistence on taking official visits elsewhere. He visited Penn State last weekend and is still set to see Virginia Tech this upcoming weekend.

Day and the Buckeyes have worked overtime to make sure Nester and his family understand his place within the Ohio State program. The question is will that be enough to hold off a serious push from Penn State and Virginia Tech.

For a full recruiting update, check out Wednesday night’s Dotting the ‘Eyes.

Dionte Johnson and Maurice Wells join Beanie and the Boom Podcast

On this week’s Beanie and the Boom Podcast, they guys have another loaded backfield as former Ohio State fullback Dionte Johnson and Maurice Wells joined the program. The group touches on both Johnson and Wells’ paths to Ohio State, what it’s like playing football today vs. when they were in college and even touch on their current lives. You don’t want to miss this episode.

Counting down

  • Ohio State hoops vs. Rutgers: 2 days
  • National Signing Day: 6 days

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I really like Banks, but I was most impressed with Williamson last spring. Tight coverage skills. OSU needs to move away from the assumption that smaller dudes can’t ball as well as their counterparts. Cover the slot like Ward. Red zone is a different animal


Nick is the producer at Lettermen Row. Born in Dayton, Nick recently graduated from Ohio State where he worked for The Lantern and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He also knows the city of Columbus and its love of sports well after interning with Columbus Crew SC and WBNS-10TV during his undergraduate education.

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