Bradley Roby's Legacy at Ohio State

wilkins0802's picture
February 3, 2014 at 3:18p

In the 2012 season Bradley Roby had an amazing year, recording 62 tackles, 17 passes broken up, 2 INTs (1 for a TD), 1 sack, and 1 punt block. He also earned All-American honors in 2012. As a red-shirt sophomore he gambled with jumping to the NFL or coming back for one more year to try and win a championship. The biggest worries for someone making that decision is always the "what ifs." Like "what if" he doesn't produce as well in 2013 as he did in 2012. Well now that the 2013 season is in the has to wonder if deep down he feels he still made the right call.

I believe Roby had a good year. Special Teams he was fantastic, and even defensively he was not bad. He was not near the defender he was in 2012, but he was still the highlight of the secondary again this year. This year he recorded 69 tackles, 13 passes broken up, 3 INTs (1 for a TD), 2 punt blocks. So my question...amongst the best to play at Ohio State..where would you put him? Is he even able to be in the conversation as some of the greats?

Here's a few..

Shawn Springs ('93-'96)- After red-shirting as a freshman in 1993, Springs went on to start every game for Ohio State from 1994-1996. He may not have ever recorded an interception in his college career, but that was simply because opponents wisely chose not to test the Williamsburg, VA native. After recording 39 tackles and 15 pass breakups, Springs was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. He was also named a first-team All-American that season, and was an All-Big Ten selection in his final two seasons in Columbus. Springs declared early for the 1997 NFL Draft.

Antonie Winfield ('95-'98)- A two-time All-American, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more accomplished defensive back in Ohio State history than Winfield. The Akron, Ohio native was named the Buckeyes' Most Valuable Player in 1997, when he led the team in tackles with 100. After returning to school for his senior season, Winfield became the first Ohio State player to win the Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the country's top defensive back. Over the course of his college career, the two-time All-Big Ten selection tallied 278 tackles, including 224 solo stops, 22 tackles-for-loss, 29 pass break-ups and three interceptions.

Malcolm Jenkins ('05-'08)- Ohio State fans knew that they could expect a special career from Jenkins when the New Jersey native managed to crack the Buckeyes' cornerback rotation as a 17-year-old true freshman in 2005. A three-year starter during his time in Columbus, Jenkins was a part of four Big Ten championship teams, and started on two teams that made appearances in the BCS National Title Game (2006, 2007). A three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Jenkins was a two-time All-American (2007, 2008, and won the 2008 Thorpe Award. Over the course of his career, Jenkins tallied 196 tackles, including 13.5 for a loss, one sack, 11 interceptions, and 28 passes defended.

Chris Gamble ('01-'03)- Ohio State's 2002 National Championship likely wouldn't occurred without the versatility of Gamble, who started the season as a wide receiver, but finished the year as a two-way player and the Buckeyes' top cornerback. The Florida native started on both sides of the ball five times in 2002, recording four interceptions and several clutch plays during Ohio State's run to a perfect 14-0 record. In his junior season, Gamble primarily focused on defense, where he was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection at cornerback for the second consecutive season. During his time in Columbus, Gamble recorded 65 tackles, seven interceptions, and 21 pass deflections. He also caught 40 passes for 609 yards and rushed six times for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Thanks to for the following players.

Comments Show All Comments

Knarcisi's picture

Honestly, he's not in the discussion with those 4.  He's in the next level with guys like Chekwa, Derek Ross, etc. 

osu07asu10's picture

Honestly, he's not in the discussion with those 4.  He's in the next level with guys like Chekwa, Derek Ross, etc.

Spot on. The 4 players mentioned? Not even close.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Hovenaut's picture

Nothing I can add to that, Knarcisi nailed it.

20sider's picture

Agreed here. Roby is a forgettable player, in my opinion. I doubt many of us will be looking back all that fondly on too many youtube clips of his playing days. Best of luck to the young man in the NFL. Hope he develops the potential we always seemed to see mere flashed of.


gumtape's picture

He doesn't compare to those four, he had a chance two but for whatever reason this just wasn't his year. He will still end up making millions in the NFL, but to compare him to those guys is not really fair.
It is a different era, we played mostly cover 2 back then.
It would be more fair to compare him to guys like Chimdi Chekwa, Nate Clements, Ahmed Plummer, etc.

High and tight boo boo

WolverineKiller's picture

Add Ashton Youboty

Just Win.

Knarcisi's picture

Donald Washington

+1 HS
WhySoSerious's picture

Had one bad to mediocre season, I believes he's earned the right to be in this conversation. 


Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Totally agree Serious....
and wheres Hitner?

gumtape's picture

Hitner is a safety, a good one while at OSU, but as Ramzy so eloquently put in his article we have not had consistently elite level safety play in the modern era.

High and tight boo boo

bigbadbuck's picture

I think if his mediocre season were his first I could see him being included in the discussion but sports is always a "what have you done for me lately" sort of gig. Hitting your apex the year before you leave never leaves a good taste.

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, its a war room

Mortc15's picture

What's interesting to me is the fact that his numbers, save the PBU, are extremely similar between the last 2 years. I'm not about to say this year was as good as last, but looking at sheer numbers, it was. 7 more tackles, 4 less PBU, and if you combine Punt blocks and sacks, both years with 2. Plus 1 more int this past year.
In reference to the question, Roby is not on the level of those 4, but part of, and maybe 1st or 2nd, of the next tier of players.


I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Despite the similar numbers, it seems like he got caught out of position and/or beat in coverage a lot more this year than last.  But I think we scrutinized him a little more this year than last, so that could have something to do with the perception.  Even still, he had the speed and athleticism to recover after screwing up to limit the damage.  Anyone else making the same mistakes and we're giving up a touchdown.  Which happened a lot this season...

d5k's picture

Counting stats are not really great at predicting anything for quarterbacks by themselves let alone cornerbacks.  Pass breakups are a terrible stat and int's aren't really that useful since there's no context.  Sure if a guy gets 10 Int's he's probably good but if he only gets 3 that could be because he isn't targeted or plays a coverage technique that leads to more contested throws rather than Int's.
We really only have the eye test when it comes to corners and we don't even get that much of that when you don't really see the coverage from camera angles.  If you were the best DB on a great pass defense then you are more likely to be a truly great DB than the big fish in a small murky pond that was Roby's season this year.

kareemabduljacobb's picture

I can't believe Jenkins only had 1 sack in his tOSU career.

OSUBias's picture

You mean a corner who is good in coverage shouldn't be regularly blitzed? Interesting. Not sure the current play callers have seen that data.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

ShawneeBuck74's picture

I see Roby on the "Ahmed Plummer" level...better than good but not great/elite.  

You win with people. 

9 Units Strong. 


ChazBuckeye's picture


Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

For me I would not put him in the conversation of those four.  He was a good player.  However, the four others mention above just did a little more for OSU during their careers. 
Go Bucks!!

ChazBuckeye's picture

Like the stats...however, Roby isn't even close to many of the greats in OSU history.  Let alone the ones Wilk posted above.  He's just not that good IMHO.  There's been many better DBs and he's not even the best on OSU's current roster as well.  There's a reason he sat out against Clemson and it sure wasn't a bruised bone from a game on Dec. 7th. 

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

saltybuck61's picture

I still believe that Roby was the best defensive back last year for Ohio State. He struggled early but was by far the best in run support and screens on the team. He was exceptionally adept at making a play on the ball in man coverage in 2012. He did not get the same results, but he showed similar skills. Also, who would you pick ahead of him? I believe that he was the best defensive back for the Buckeyes for all three years he was here. There isn't even a discussion about the 2012 team.

OSUBias's picture

Comparing him to our worst pass defense in the last eleventy billion years and saying he was the best of the group and comparing him to our greatest corners is not remotely the same conversation.
Yes, he was the best of the bunch on a team of below average performers. No, he is not at the level of any of the top 4 guys mentioned above.
Overall his legacy to me is about the danger of complacency. He shot up from a relatively unknown to make an impact as a freshman and become an All American as a sophomore, presumably through hard work and the drive to get better (along with great athleticism). Then everyone started talking about how great he was, he admittedly lost focus on getting better, and he regressed. His last year with us won't be remembered for anything positive in 4-5 years. Probably the things that stand out most are him being ejected for targeting against Iowa and the punt block against NW.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

BAR43's picture

OK. If Roby is so bad, what CB would you have taken over him in the last 5 years?

OSUBias's picture

Never said he was bad. This post is comparing him to our 4 best CBs dating back to the mid-late 90's. Nobody from the last 5 years is on that list, though if we're counting Jenkins I would rather have him.
The comment I was replying to was noting that he was the best corner by far on our team the last couple of years. I totally agree with that, but that is a very different comparison than comparing him to the guys listed as the top 4.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

BAR43's picture

Ok, I would agree with that. But these guys on the list are the best of all-time really, not just since the 90's. Is Roby one of the best all-time, absolutely not, but he sure as hell is a good CB and better than a lot of people give him credit for in my mind. I would say he is probably top 10-15 CB OSU has ever had, and that is still saying something.

saltybuck61's picture

I never stated that he deserved to be in the conversation with the four other guys. He doesn't and he isn't really that close. I just don't understand when people say that he wasn't the best defensive back on the team last year. 

Nashville Buckeye's picture

Yes, he was the best we had.....but that's not saying much.
I think VB has the potential to be better than Roby. 

BAR43's picture

Only thing I would add is I feel Mike Doss should be in this conversation, he might be the 5th guy, but he was on that level with those guys in my mind.

Knarcisi's picture

He was a S.  So was Whitner.  The discussion is on CB. 

mtrotb's picture

He was one of the best ever on kick block special teams.


Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

I'll remember Roby as a solid player that was a tad bit too focused on the next level...How he performs at the next level will change a lot of peoples views on him I imagine.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne