One of the more popular arguments in college football the last few years is over which team produces the best defensive backs. Depending on which fan you ask, LSU, Florida and Alabama have all been popular choices. But until the last couple of seasons, there hasn't been enough credence paid to Ohio State.
On Tuesday, ESPN weighed in with their opinion as part of their "Position U" series. The Buckeyes are officially "DBU." David M. Hale ranked the top 10 schools at each position, with the No. 1 team being honored as “Position U.”
Here’s how Hale determined the rankings of the schools:
“First, we limited our scope to only seasons from 1998 on -- the BCS era forward. Second, we wanted to measure both quantity and quality, so rather than just a tally of NFL players from each school, we leveraged Pro Football Reference data to weight our findings based on draft round and average NFL value during their first four seasons. (Beyond four years, the value of the college's contribution is far outweighed by NFL development.)
“Lastly, we wanted to include college performance, too, so we gave additional points for all-conference and all-America awards. We also had to solve "The Jalen Hurts Problem," where a successful player attended multiple schools. For this, we awarded points for college accomplishments to the school they attended when those awards were received, while all NFL performance was credited to the last school they attended.”
The Buckeyes edged out LSU and Alabama as the No. 2 and 3 schools in the ranking.
“Ohio State had two DB's taken in the first round this year -- Jeff Okudah at No. 9 and Damon Arnette at No. 19 -- bringing its total to eight first-round DB's in just the past seven drafts,” Hale said. “The Buckeyes have a whopping 30 All-Big Ten performers during the Position U era and seven All-Americans (though LSU has more at 10). Shaun Wade will almost certainly add to that total in the 2021 draft, though LSU could still push ahead next year thanks to the dominance of rising sophomore Derek Stingley Jr.”
Last season, Okudah wanted to change the acronym associated with the Buckeyes defensive backs. He took it a step further and claimed Ohio State as “Best In America” — or BIA.
OSU currently has 13 defensive backs in the NFL, including Pro Bowlers Malcolm Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward.
The Buckeyes were also represented on the list at quarterback (10), wide receiver (4), offensive line (4), defensive line (3) and linebacker (3).