Ohio State lost both of its starting cornerbacks early to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore both gave up eligibility and thus left the Buckeyes with two giant holes in the back end of their defense.
Junior-to-be Denzel Ward figures to be one of the starters for next season, but the other spot, as of right now, appears to be wide open.
That seems like a convenient time for Ohio State to bring in a pair of five-star prospects.
Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade both enrolled early for the Buckeyes and, according to the two of them, they’ve each been told to expect to play as true freshmen.
“That’s what Coach Coombs told me: I have to be ready now,” Wade said Wednesday in his first meeting with the media as a college player. “A lot of the older guys, Denzel, they’ve been teaching us a couple things kind of taking us under his wing and teaching us the system. Talking with Coach Coombs, just watching film and stuff, he’s telling me and Jeffrey we have to be ready to play right now.”
According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Okudah is rated as the No. 1 corner while Wade is No. 2. Each is listed at 6-foot-1 and near 200 pounds, so both possess the size the Buckeyes look for in their corners.
“I think technique-wise I’m there to cover No. 1 receivers, but at the same time, those are grown men,” Okudah said. “I’m still catching up, still developing. When fall comes around, I believe I’ll be at the point where I can cover that No. 1 receiver.”
The playing time is there for the taking, and Ohio State’s pair of five-star early enrollees hope they can get themselves into the mix right away.
“He pushes me and I push him,” Okudah said. “These workouts are tough so when I’m going through it and I’m mentally exhausted, he’s like, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ When he can’t go anymore, I’m trying to pick him up. We’re trying to push each other to be the best. It’s competition, but at the same time Ohio State is a brotherhood and that’s the bigger picture.”
Added Wade: “We said we were going to push each other. That’s the only thing we’ve talked about, just pushing each other and making each other better.”