Ohio State returns three cornerbacks with starting experience, and adds a fourth who was a freshman starter at Ole Miss last season. Junior Denzel Burke returns for his third year as a starter. Junior Jordan Hancock and sophomore Jyaire Brown each started one game last year. Davison Igbinosun was a Freshman All-American at Ole Miss a year ago. Redshirt freshman Ryan Turner and true freshman Jermaine Mathews are the other scholarship cornerbacks on campus for spring ball.
Denzel Burke, Jr, 6-1 190
Started slowly last year but got better as the season progressed.
Jordan Hancock, Jr, 6-1 185
Was expected to compete for a starting job last year but injuries intervened.
Jyaire Brown, Soph, 5-11 180
A pleasant surprise who enrolled early and played well whenever called upon.
Davison Igbinosun, Soph, 6-1 185
Good addition who has seen talented receivers and is accustomed to rotating.
Ryan Turner, rFr, 5-11 188
Second spring on campus should allow for some level of comfort and growth.
Jermaine Mathews, Jr., Fr, 6-0 180
Big expectations for one of the hotter cornerback prospects down the stretch.
The Buckeyes must replace two of their top three starters from last season. Denzel Burke and his 23 career starts return, but a partner needs to be found. Cam Brown started seven games last year, while JK Johnson started five games. Brown is off to pursue a professional career, while Johnson hit the transfer portal after the season. Ohio State will use the spring to improve the room overall and also find a starter opposite Burke. Assuming Burke can hold onto his job, of course. Nothing has been guaranteed by cornerbacks coach Tim Walton in that regard.
Davison Igbinosun started 10 games as a true freshman last year at Ole Miss. He finished with 37 tackles and five passes broken up. Igbinosun was part of a three-man rotation in 2022, but eventually lost the starting job after nine games. Losing a starting job as a freshman buries the lede of actually winning the job in the first place. The Buckeyes will also have true freshman Jermaine Mathews, Jr. available in the spring. Mathews is the No. 6 cornerback in the 2023 recruiting class.
Spring Depth Chart
|10||Denzel Burke, Jr|
|7||Jordan Hancock, Jr OR|
|18||Jyaire Brown, Soph OR|
|NA||Davison Igbinosun, Soph|
|29||Ryan Turner, rFr|
|NA||Jermaine Mathews, Jr., Fr|
What’s the Latest?
The latest is that as of this writing, the Buckeye cornerbacks appear to be healthy. That may not seem like news, but with all of the injuries at this position a season ago, it’s actually the best news there could be. Just about everybody dealt with injuries last season. Most of the corners missed at least a couple of games with some sort of ailment. Not only did these injuries keep the position from becoming one consistent entity, it also stunted the growth of each corner individually. If this position can just stay healthy this season, they’ll be better in every way because of it. And they will be allowed to continue getting better.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if this is a strong spring for the Ohio State cornerbacks. The competition is going to be ramped up. Davison Igbinosun didn’t transfer to sit, but nobody on this team is going to simply allow him to take a job. Everybody is a year older. Jordan Hancock is now three years in, but has yet to be healthy for an entire season. Jyaire Brown was impressive as a freshman, so there’s no reason to expect a backslide now. The cornerbacks could also be in for a strong spring because the Buckeyes will be without starting receivers Julian Fleming and Emeka Egbuka. While they would definitely benefit from having the receivers at full strength, having them short-handed should give the corners some advantages during spring ball, especially with OSU breaking in a new starting quarterback as well.
One Question Needing An Answer
Was it just injuries that kept the cornerbacks from being consistent last season, or is there more at play here?
You can list just about anybody here because they’re all due. Jordan Hancock has been on the verge since his arrival. Jyaire Brown’s trajectory is exactly where you’d want it. Jermaine Mathews, Jr. is one of the more entertaining cornerback prospects Ohio State has seen in years. Any of those three would be an acceptable answer, and none of them are mutually exclusive, so it could be more than one. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what Ryan Turner looks like after spending last season learning everything that college football requires.