As Ohio State looks for improvement at safety following its season opener against Oregon State, the Buckeyes are experimenting with one of their talented young cornerbacks playing the position.
Following some chatter this week that the Buckeyes could move redshirt freshman defensive back Shaun Wade to safety, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano confirmed Thursday during the weekly coaches' radio show on 97.1 The Fan that Wade has spent some time practicing at safety in addition to the outside cornerback and slot cornerback positions.
"Shaun is a multi-talented guy," Schiano said. "We’re going to move Shaun all over the place. He’s a guy that I can see getting a bigger and bigger role as time goes on."
While cornerbacks are sometimes moved to safety because they struggle at the cornerback position, Schiano said that's not the case with Wade, but simply that he has the ability to play both positions well.
"I think Shaun can play in the nickel, I think Shaun can play safety, I think Shaun can play at corner," Schiano said. "Most of the times when you move guys from corner to safety, it’s because ‘Well, they’re just not quite good enough to be a corner,’ especially around here, right, it’s elite to be a corner. Shaun can do that."
“He’s a guy that I can see getting a bigger and bigger role as time goes on.”– Greg Schiano on Shaun Wade
A five-star recruit out of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, Wade has been the No. 4 cornerback on Ohio State's depth chart behind Kendall Sheffield, Damon Arnette and Jeffrey Okudah – blocking his path to regular playing time at that position.
The Buckeyes' safety depth chart, however, remains unsettled opposite Jordan Fuller. Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint started for Ohio State on Saturday, when Fuller was sidelined by a hamstring injury, but both had noticeable struggles as the Buckeyes gave up 31 points and 392 yards to Oregon State's offense.
Ultimately, moving Wade to safety could both bolster Ohio State's secondary and give him the opportunity to play more regularly this season.