Candid Roby Speaks Mind, Performs at High Level

By Kyle Rowland on February 26, 2014 at 9:15a

It’s safe to say no one’s ever accused Bradley Roby of being shy or buttoned-down when it comes to expounding on his thoughts. In college, Roby quickly became the Columbus media’s favorite interview for his uncensored, off-the-cuff remarks. So it came as little surprise when he spoke with conviction at the NFL combine about why college players should be paid, among other things.

The subject of paying players has once again jumped to the forefront of discussions, thanks in large part to Northwestern players’ attempts to form the first union in intercollegiate athletics. During his four years at Ohio State, Roby received a monthly stipend that was part of his athletic scholarship. But he would have liked more and feels like major college athletes deserve it.

“How these colleges are running football programs now, it’s just like the NFL,” Roby said. “It’s about results, it’s about winning. That’s what the game is about.”

Roby’s statements are true. The ever-growing salaries for coaches, rising ticket prices and pressure to win all point to the professionalization of college sports. So too do the state-of-the-art practice facilities and multimillion dollar stadium renovations.

Football and men’s basketball might generate the most revenue, but sports such as volleyball, lacrosse and soccer also mimic full-time jobs. Class, studying, practice, workouts and games are part of the weekly grind for athletes. Sure, many would sacrifice to have that college experience. It’s indisputable, though, that the time constraints for athletes carry a heavy burden. Plus, there’s the offseason, which really doesn’t exist.  

Still, athletes aren’t likely to receive much sympathy.

“There’s a lot to deal with as a college athlete,” Roby said. “You do all of that and you come home and may not have much to eat. You just think, ‘Where is the money going to?’ The scholarship isn’t enough. You can get a scholarship as a regular student. That’s not enough. The sheer amount of money that athletes make for the universities, something more than just a scholarship should be done for student-athletes. You can have a scholarship, but not have food. Not everyone comes from a decent background. Some guys don’t have good funding from their family.”

“How these colleges are running football programs now, it’s just like the NFL. It’s about results, it’s about winning. That’s what the game is about.”– Bradley Roby

Come May, Roby will be an employee and he’ll also put food on his table. As one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft, he could go in the first round. Roby’s junior season at Ohio State did not go as planned. The team fell short of the national championship and he didn’t accomplish his personal goals.

Instead of the Thorpe Award, there were question marks. Blown coverages and missed tackles became a common sight. Then Roby received criticism for not playing in the Orange Bowl. There was a perception that he quit on the Buckeyes to protect his draft stock, opting to forego a matchup with Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

“That was very frustrating. A lot of people decided they wanted to make up things saying this or that,” Roby said. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t get back. I look forward to opportunities like that. The fact that I couldn’t end my career in a game of that caliber hurt me.

“I had a decent season. First half of the season didn’t go as well as I expected. Things happened, and I have gotten a lot better from it. Not playing that first game, my mindset in camp wasn’t where it should have been.”

Roby was referring to a suspension stemming from an incident at a Bloomington, Ind., bar. It will have virtually zero impact on his draft status. Roby’s confidence hasn’t waned. He believes he’s one of, if not, the top cornerback available to the NFL’s 32 franchises.

At the combine, the proof started to materialize. Roby ran a 4.39 40, one of the fastest times seen in Indianapolis. And that was only the beginning. He had a vertical of 38.5 inches, broad jump of 124 inches and 4.04 shuttle time. All together, some believe the performance could have solidified Roby’s place in the first round.

Shutdown cornerbacks are a valuable commodity in the pass-happy league. Signing up for that chore is Roby, who believes he can match up against the top wide receivers and quarterbacks. Athleticism, speed and determination are intangibles that make him such a coveted player.

“That's definitely what I can do,” Roby said. “And I plan to show that to whatever team drafts me.”


Comments Show All Comments

Jason Gruber's picture

I'm glad he performed well at the underpants olympics. That performance should be enough for a good team to pick him late in the first round. I'm thinking there may be 2 to 3 Buckeyes picked in the first round. I think Ryan Damn Shazier could go mid first round, El Guapo late first and Roby mid to late. Not to mention Linsley went all beast mode on the bench press. Could be a good draft for the Buckeyes!!! 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

+2 HS
OSUStu's picture

Hopefully all of our Buckeyes end up on good teams or high quality organizations where they will have the opportunity to learn from good coaches and players.  I think Roby, especially, could benefit quite a bit from landing on team with a strong secondary around him.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

InvertMyVeer's picture

I'd be shocked if Hyde went in the first. 5-10 years ago he would be a no-brainer but it's just not smart football anymore for teams to draft running backs in the first round. Also Mewhort will likely get drafted and Philly Brown has a shot.

Football is complicated...

clogan1032's picture

I think Roby and Shazier could go first round but don't see Hyde going until the late second or third round.  With Hyde's poor combine coupled with how the NFL has moved to pass happy league  I just don't see him going in round one, not happening.

+1 HS
Mortc15's picture

I would agree that I'm not sure he'll go in the first but I think late second is way too late. I think he'll be gone by pick 40 or so at the latest. There's a lot to be said about being able to pick up 3rd and 3. Look at SF and Sea, probably the NFL's 2 best teams, and who they have as RB.


southbuc's picture

He is at worst the second RB off the board.  If he puts up a good pro day, probably the first...

OSUStu's picture

I don't think NFL teams put as much stock in the combine as the fans do.  IMO, they use it more to evaluate and discover mid and late round talent than the top talent.  There is a lot of film and other workouts for that top talent.  I don't Hyde's day hurt him all that much if he shows well with his other opportunities.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Seattle Linga's picture

So happy for Roby - still kinda irked he got booted from that game earlier in the season. Will definitely follow his NFL success. 

Nice article Kyle - well done

+1 HS
Waltbuck's picture

Could not agree more.  Got to meet him when he first arrived in Columbus.  Very confident person, not arrogant, and knew what he wanted to do.  I wish him all the best.

+1 HS
ScarletGray43157's picture

I would be in favor of a pre-paid credit card that is issued by the school in question.  Put the stipend and whatever other compensation into a monthly deposit, and tie that to achievement standards in both the athlete's sport (games and off-season and preseason work) and their academics, with better results = better compensation.  The school gets a copy of the credit card statement to verify compliance.  No ATM function (no cash withdrawals) so there is a record of all transactions.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

+3 HS
Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I hope Roby does well - he has been a great Buckeye, regardless of how his last season went! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

sivaDavis's picture

Roby has a long way to go before he can match up with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, AJ Green, Dez Bryant, etc. "The best of the best." I'll always root for a Buckeye but he better always put that ego aside and focus on bettering himself everyday. There's a difference in being cocky and being confident. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

zebiraross's picture

I have so many mixed feelings about Roby. But I'm glad he was a Buckeye.


+2 HS
TUNBUCK89's picture

IIRC someone talked (maybe Urban) about him second guessing his decision to stay for another year. Once that happened, I think, mentally he was not ready to put in the work to perform at a high level and his on the field performance suffered as a consquence. Thus, the importance of taking your time before making a decision that you have to fully embrace afterwards and not keep second-guessing yourself.

williamwhite37's picture

Yeah, sure he has a long way to go before matching up with NFL WRs — about six months. He'll be fine

sivaDavis's picture

I watched Jordy Nelson Jr make Roby look like he was a high school player on the JV squad going up against Jerry Rice. Also the Cal WR's difficult and crisp routes made Roby confused. I think B is a great DB. But matching him up against the NFL's top tier, hell their third tier is gonna be tough at first. He will catch on, but he has to get in the film room and do the work. You can be the best DB physically but if you're not strong mentally, OC's with great QB's like Rodgers, Brady, Peyton, will tear you apart. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

Ericgobucks's picture

I am very happy for Roby that he's had a good showing. I'm very curious to follow which DB is taken first in the draft, Roby or Dennard. There's no doubt, in my opinion, that Dennard was the best college DB last year and his winning the Thorpe award definitely validated that. Roby has off the chart skills and I hope he has a long, successful NFL career. 

alust2013's picture

I think he'll be at worst a solid corner in the NFL, I'm guessing he will be late first round, with Shazier a few picks ahead of him and Hyde not too far behind, probably early-mid second.

...and Michigan still sucks.

kyletp2's picture

I would like to know if Roby ever received a Pell Grant? When I played division 1 football....I would say about 75% of the players received one. And from my experience most of that money certainly wasn't spent on food! I tend to think that he had enough money to manage to feed himself if he wanted too. 

You are lame if you tweet!

+2 HS
Josh P's picture

Looks like it's a good thing he took the Orange Bowl off

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

It would be nice if someone would do a study on the number of players who wouldn't have an opportunity to go to college if they didn't get an athletic scholarship.  I'm sick of hearing the argument about getting paid.  There also needs to be a study on the number of students who are in college that don't have athletic or academic scholarships.  I bet the number is over 50%.  The reality is the scholarship that Roby got is about to make him a very wealthy man.  

+1 HS
BuckeyeOfTheTiger's picture

plus, i would like to see how many student athletes take out student loans, broken up by sport.  the vast majority of kids i went to college with had to take out student loans and i have yet to hear anything regarding whether these athletes who are complaining about not getting paid enough took advantage of student loans like just about everyone else.  are student loans ideal, especially in the minds of these players who are aware of the revenue of athletic departments these days? no.  but it would hold them accountable to pay it back instead of blowing all this extra money they would get on top of their full ride+food+training services+etc. on unnecessary status symbols.  then they would, in a sense, be forced to learn budgeting and other financial skills and some of these stories about former pro players who are now bankrupt might not be as prevalent.  or they just go pro and pay off their loans with their first paycheck or two regardless of how they spent their loan money.


Miami of Brohio's picture

While I am not necessarily against the idea of student athletes receiving more, it always irks me when students act like it is an issue of going hungry. You're right Roby; you, osu linebackers, d-line, o-line, Braxton, etc have all looked pretty waifish the last couple football seasons...

wilkins0802's picture

Roby, Shazier first round, Hyde I think early second. Depending on team needs maybe even WAY late first round.

Truth & Courage, 1-17IN, 5/2 SBCT


BuckeyeDale's picture

I'm sorry, but look back a year ago.  Roby said he'd come back, he had goals he wanted to attain.  One of those was being a captain.  The incident in IN (trumped up BS as it turned out) took that away.  Once his goals we unobtainable, of COURSE he had some mental issues to work thru.  But I recall more than one occasion where he didn't give up and ran down someone else's missed tackle and saved a TD.  He didn't quit on his teammates.


+1 HS
TossTrap's picture

While I certainly don't object to Roby and friends to having some cash during the college years, I hope these guys also consider what they are getting in return. In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a "moderate" college budget for an in-state public college for the 2013–2014 academic year averaged $22,826. Some of our best and brightest students incur debt that won't be paid off until 20 years after they graduate.

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

nburns18's picture

He is right in some respects. But i hope the day never comes where colleges pay players. That'll be the end of college football as we know it. 

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

So sorry.  Free education, opportunity that others do not get, and potential million dollar contracts with a degree in your pocket is the payoff.  Paying a player is idiocy.  Period.

Hope he gets drafted.  Has things to work on, but I think will ultimately become a very good player in the NFL.

Hyde pulled a hamstring, he had no combine result.  He will get drafted in the same place as he would have before the ESPiN marketing show.  Late 1 or early 2.  

Hating the NFL right now, waiting til April is absolutely ridiculous.

Go Bucks!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Do the schools pay for the surgeries of the players when they get hurt?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Go1Bucks's picture
-1 HS
BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

It's a good thing he didn't play vs Clemson. Sammy Watkins would have abused him like a stray dog the same way Jared Abbrewhatever did.

Whoever is in his inner circle told him to focus on getting better and ready for the draft, and I don't blame them. Bring on the Dame Webb era.

(For the record, I think he's highly overrated compared to the past greats we've had at DB U). Not at all sound in coverage or tackling. He's just has incredible recovery speed, which he used when he got scorched)

-2 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

It's a good thing he didn't play vs Clemson. Sammy Watkins would have abused him like a stray dog the same way Jared Abbrewhatever did.

You mean like how Allen Robinson was suppose to abuse him?

What Robinson had to say:

Q: Who was the toughest cornerback you faced in college?

A: Robinson: “I’d have to say [Ohio State’s] Bradley Roby. He’s a pretty competitive guy. He’s one of the better DBs in the Big Ten.”

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

Well yea, Bradley Roby is one of the better DBs in the Big Ten. I never disputed that. I'm not sure if Allen Robinson's quote is supposed to suddenly change my mind.

Darqueze Dennard is a better CB.



WezBuck28's picture

What's going to be interesting is seeing Roby or shazier try and tackle Hyde...if this were to happen..