Ohio State did not list senior cornerback Sevyn Banks on its availability report prior to the season-opening win at Minnesota or Saturday’s loss to Oregon, which means he conceivably could have played in both games. However, the 6-foot-1 and 200-pounder has yet to see field for a single snap this season.
It’s unclear exactly why Banks – who was expected to be the Buckeyes’ No. 1 cornerback after starting seven games last fall – has been held out, though it’s worth noting he suffered an undisclosed injury in the spring that also limited him during fall camp. So as someone who wasn’t listed as either unavailable or a game-time decision, his absence is notable.
Head coach Ryan Day was asked during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon if Banks wasn’t playing for any other reason, which he quickly said was not the case. But then a few minutes later, Day noted the former four-star prospect from Orlando is healthy enough to see the field.
“At this point, he’s not too injured to play,” Day said. “He has had some injuries and he was kind of slow in preseason and everything like that, but now he’s healthy. He hasn’t played up to this point, but hopefully we can get him on the field this week.”
Perhaps the Buckeyes have felt comfortable working Banks back into the lineup because of the stellar play – at least in coverage – of true freshman Denzel Burke, who leads the team with four pass break ups this season. The return of junior Cam Brown from an Achilles injury of his own helps, too.
“I think that he’s shown in the games what he’s shown in practice,” Day said of Burke. “I thought that they went after him a couple times downfield, and he did a really good job in that area. I think he’s got a very, very bright future.
“He’s like a lot of the younger guys out there, everything he’s doing is for the first time, so for a young player stepping into a couple of these spots, he’s done a good job. The future’s bright with him and a bunch of the younger guys we have.”
The uncertainty surrounding Banks makes it difficult to project his role moving forward, but his return – whenever that may be – could help a defense that is struggling with defending the boundary and allowing 5.36 yards per rush so far this season.
There’s also the matter or redshirt freshman Ryan Watts, who started opposite of Burke against the Golden Gophers, and classmate Lejond Cavazos, who has played key snaps in both games, so it’s not as if Banks is automatically guaranteed a spot in the lineup.
“We got to look at all those options,” Day said. “Like we’ve talked about before, is it personnel, is it coaching or is it scheme? Finding the right people in the right spots is part of coaching and making sure that the right guys are in those spots.”
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