Best In America: Looking at the Future Secondary of Ohio State

Adam Prescott

Ohio State cornerback, and team captain, Shaun Wade announced Monday morning that he will be opting out of the 2020 season and turning pro.

A preseason All-American, Wade is almost guaranteed to be a top-10 pick in the next NFL Draft and continue a string of Buckeye defensive backs to reach the next level. Seven corners alone have been drafted in the last five years, along with plenty of other safeties currently making an impact in the league.

With Kerry Coombs back in Columbus, nobody expects this recent stretch to dwindle for a position group that many refer to as B.I.A. – Best In America. In fact, Ohio State was recently crowned “DBU” in a recent ESPN piece.

We mentioned yesterday that current Buckeyes seemingly next in line would be Sevyn Banks, Tyreke Johnson, Cameron Brown and Marcus Williamson. Johnson, specifically, was a top-25 player nationally coming out of high school. 

Sevyn Banks makes a tackle against Michigan.

But, with plenty of incoming talent as well, here is an overall look at the potential future of Ohio State’s secondary…

2020 Class: Lathan Ransom (Tucson, Ariz.), Ryan Watts (Little Elm, Texas), Cameron Martinez (Muskegon, Mich.) and Lejond Cavazos (Bradenton, Fla.)

Thoughts: Watts features great size at 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, while Martinez could be the X factor of the bunch. A true athlete, he actually played QB for his high school team and may get the rare opportunity on both sides of the ball (cornerback/offensive skill) at OSU. Defensively, Martinez could see time at multiple secondary positions as time progresses.

2021 Class: Jordan Hancock (Suwanee, Ga.), Jakailin Johnson (St. Louis, Mo.), Andre Turrentine (Nashville, Tenn.), Denzel Burke (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Jaylen Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Jantzen Dunn (Bowling Green, Ky.)

Thoughts: Hancock and Johnson are considered the heralded stars right now. SI All-American’s John Garcia Jr. even compared Hancock to Marshon Lattimore recently, while Johnson is the No. 6 ranked corner in the 2021 cycle. But this group features a variety of skillsets and talent. Turrentine is a three-sport standout in high school as projects as a safety, Burke and Dunn are raw athletes capable of blossoming, while Johnson probably assumes the outside backer/bullet role in the Buckeye defense.

Jantzen Dunn breaks up a pass in his season debut.

2022 Class: Jyaire Brown (West Chester, Ohio)

Technically the lone cornerback commit in this cycle, Brown is a top-five player in the state and has room to grow on his 5-foot-11, 165-pound figure. Elite athletes Dasan McCullough (Overland Park, Kan.) and C.J. Hicks (Dayton, Ohio) have sizeable frames, standing over 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, but are expected to settle as linebackers in college.

Here is the fun part…. More than a few names listed above are likely to carry on the tradition of great Buckeye defensive backs, but we may not exactly know who quite yet. Guys like Damon Arnette and Bradley Roby were both ranked outside of the top 650 recruits in high school, while Malik Hooker was positioned No. 360 in his class. There is still plenty of work to do for all of these young men, and time will tell who rises to the top.

Get used to the names listed here regardless because, odds are, they will be carrying on Ohio State’s defensive secondary tradition of B.I.A.

Stay tuned to BuckeyesNow and all of our social media outlets (@BuckeyesNowSI) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for continued coverage!

Comments (1)
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Adam Prescott
Adam Prescott


Excited to see what Sevyn Banks and/or Tyreke Johnson can do leading the way for some of this incoming guys.