COLUMBUS — If any Ohio State position groups have upward mobility this season, the cornerbacks would appear to be at the top of the list.
Low in numbers and hardly healthy in the first part of the season, they struggled individually and collectively more than they excelled throughout 2022.
None made an interception, and they combined for only 13 pass break-ups so production was a major issue in the first season under position coach Tim Walton.
He expressed optimism better days are ahead with more bodies and experience in his room this spring, and so far head coach Ryan Day says he likes what he has seen from Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, Davison Igbinosun and Jyaire Brown.
“It’s hard right now to say who is really standing out, but I think Denzel and Jordan and Davison and Jyaire have been in there and gotten their hands on some balls,” Day said Tuesday. “I think just as a group right now, they’re competing, they’re challenging, and I don’t think we could ask for a better start of spring practice coming off the first three days.”
Burke, a junior-to-be who has started 24 games already, is the most veteran of the group while Hancock and Brown got their first significant playing time last season, and Igbinosun is a sophomore transfer from Mississippi.
“I just like their attitude,” Day said. “I like the competitiveness. It’s a bunch of guys working on the perimeter every day, and that’s what we want. We want to be really competitive this spring in everything we do. As we get going here with the pads we’ll be in more winner-loser situations, and that’s what we want.”
Walton received a $300,000 raise and a new title when he signed a contract amendment that was released last week along with the updated deals of every full-time, on-field assistant.
The Ohio State grad will make $1 million this year and be the passing game coordinator. He will continue coaching the cornerbacks while Perry Eliano mentors the safeties.
Day said that is mostly about trying to enhance the connectivity of the defensive backs and staff synergy.
“Not much is going to change, but they’re going to do some more meeting together as a group,” Day said. “And I felt like it was appropriate to put that in the job description for Tim and, and so he’ll kind of run with it and hopefully we can get everybody on the same page before sometimes we leave meetings, and then it goes into individual meetings. Because there’s pluses and minuses to both.”
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