When talents like Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward and Jeff Okudah played for the Buckeyes, Ohio State's cornerback room earned the title of “Best in America.”
Years later, that moniker is still thrown around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the position group. Still, cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and Denzel Burke feel they haven't proved themselves worthy of the nickname, which is why Burke and his teammates want to show that “BIA is back” this spring and generate momentum heading into 2023.
In this edition of Quick Hits, Walton discusses how he's been pleased with Ohio State's cornerbacks after six spring practices, Davison Igbinosun explains why he chose to play for the Buckeyes and Burke shares his desire to bounce back from a sophomore slump.
Additionally, Jordan Hancock explains how he battled through several injuries and is happy to be at full strength this spring, while Jyaire Brown talks about the experience he gained as a replacement for Burke and Cam Brown as they suffered various ailments in the defensive backfield last season.
We've rounded up some of the most notable comments from each of them below, and you can watch the videos to hear more of what each of them had to say.
- On transfer cornerback Davison Igbinosun, Walton said he was “glad we got him.” He lauded his work ethic and his passion for the game.
- On the cornerbacks as a whole, Walton said the “whole group is playing pretty good right now.” He praised how competitive the unit has been in addition and said they’re starting to understand the game and applying their knowledge to the field.
- Regarding the third safety position that primarily covered the slot, Walton said OSU is exploring the idea of using a cornerback in that role sometimes. “We’re trying to make sure we have options with it and that we have a good plan.” He said they’re moving guys around to see who fits where best in the overall scheme.
- Walton said he’s noticed a change in Denzel Burke this spring, saying he’s “down and focused.” Said he’s having an excellent spring and hopes he keeps it going.
- Walton said having younger players get experience last year in games was big for OSU, and always tries to have younger players ready because you “never know what’s going to happen.”
- Since he arrived on campus in early February, Igbinosun said he’s “felt very comfortable” being with the Buckeyes. He also said Ohio State’s players have welcomed him into The Brotherhood with open arms, which he has appreciated. “Ohio State has been very easy. It feels like home.”
- As a transfer, Igbinosun understands that he has to work harder to carve a role for himself at Ohio State. Still, he believes his play will “speak for itself” as he proves to be a ball-hawk cornerback that feeds off physicality and getting his hands on the football.”
- Igbinosun said his first year at Ole Miss has prepared him for what competition and a fight for playing time will look like at Ohio State. “Coming in as a freshman last year (with the Rebels) was the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life, so moving forward, I know nothing else will be as hard.”
- Igbinosun said Ole Miss defensive coordinator Chris Partridge leaving the program after the 2022 season led him to the transfer portal after his freshman year. “I felt like that was an opportunity to explore other options.”
- Igbinosun’s first option for where to transfer was Ohio State because he’s always wanted to play for the Buckeyes: “Ohio State was the place I’ve always wanted to be since I was a little boy… deep down, I knew I wanted to be at Ohio State from the jump.”
- Burke said this season is “personal” for him and he wants to “prove all the doubters wrong.” He added he wants to put “a lot of good stuff” on tape and contribute to his team.
- Burke said finishing the year strong after a slow start was “a validation” for him because he knows what he can do on the field. “I finished the second half of the season really strong and then wanted to have some momentum going into next season.”
- Burke said shoulder, hand and ankle injuries affected him last year. Said he feels healthy now and hopes to stay healthy all season
- Burke said he wants the cornerbacks to show that “BIA is back” and expects a big season from himself and his teammates.
- Hancock said battling a hamstring injury all of last season was difficult but also “eye-opening.” He said it helped him learn how to take care of his body better.
- He feels like he “knows the defense in and out” and that he’s “matured a lot this year.”
- The hamstring injury prevented Hancock from exploding the way he usually can, so he thinks he’ll be able to show his explosiveness this year.
- Hancock said he thinks bringing in Igbinosun “really boosts all of us and he pushes all of us.” He said Igbinosun is a great teammate.
- Hancock said Burke is “competing way harder” this offseason and has been getting to the facility at 5 a.m. to watch film. “He's definitely moving like a pro.”
- Brown has been practicing both outside and in the slot this spring and said he is comfortable playing inside because he did so in 7-on-7 in high school.
- He currently weighs 183 pounds. Brown said Mickey Marotti pushed him this offseason to get bigger and stronger.
- Brown says he and the other cornerbacks are “all getting each other better each and every day” as they compete for playing time. “We all feed off one another, and we all bring great intensity and energy when we come out to the field. We’re just competing to get better.”
- Brown says he feels “a lot more comfortable” this spring after getting some playing time as a freshman.
- Brown said he moved from wide receiver to cornerback during his sophomore year of high school at his father’s insistence. He questioned his father’s idea at first, but says he realizes now that was the right move.