COLUMBUS — Despite being the namesake of a Buckeye great, the brother of a current Buckeye, and having already made plays in a game in Ohio Stadium, it wasn’t until practice was over on Wednesday that Lorenzo Styles, Jr. was officially an Ohio State Buckeye.
It was following practice that Styles was recognized by having the black stripe on his helmet removed, acknowledging that he had proven himself in practice and was ready to be formally welcomed home.
Styles spent the first two years of his college ball as a wide receiver at Notre Dame, but transferred to Ohio State following spring practice, doing so with the intention to move to the defensive side of the ball and play cornerback.
So far, so good.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has praised Styles throughout camp for how well he has adjusted. The Buckeyes originally recruited Styles at cornerback, and now that they’ve got him back where they want him, he is responding.
“I feel like I’m performing at a high level right now,” Styles said last week. “We have a great D-line, so that’s helping me out a lot. But yeah, so far I feel like I’ve done well.”
The Buckeyes have three cornerbacks with experience that they’ll be leaning on this year, with returning juniors Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock, as well as Ole Miss sophomore transfer Davison Igbinosun. Styles’ playing time is still up in the air, but that’s only providing motivation.
“I feel like if I keep working hard and keep staying on the track that I’m on, I think I’ll see the field this year,” he said.
Transitioning to a new position is never easy, but Styles does have a high school background at cornerback, plus he’s able to fall back on his experience as a wide receiver to fill in some gaps.
“I think it actually really helped me just because I’ve been understanding a lot of the concepts of the offense they’ve been trying to run just because I’ve been on the other side of it before,” he said. “And then also just like trying to be a returner and just having those skills, having the balls in my hands. There’s not really any other defensive guys back there trying to return punts or kickoffs, so I think just having that in my arsenal will be pretty beneficial to me.”
The building blocks are being installed to turn the former wide receiver into a Big Ten cornerback, but there’s no reason to tear down what has already been built. Lorenzo Styles, Jr. is putting all of his experiences together to make this a much smoother process than it otherwise would have been.
“Especially in zone coverage, I’m really thinking like a wide receiver,” he said. “If I see a route go to the flag, I know there’s a dig or there’s a curl coming behind it. If I see certain concepts, I’m able to understand what the complement of that is. But then in press right now, it’s just more so I’m using a lot of my athleticism, just to put myself in position. But over time I need to develop those techniques to really be there and get my hands on the ball even more.”
Also losing his black stripe on Wednesday was redshirt freshman walk-on wide receiver David Adolph. This is Adolph’s second season with the Buckeyes. He attended high school at nearby Dublin Jerome where he was an All-District player. His grandfather — also named David Adolph — was an assistant coach for the Buckeyes back in the late 1970s.
Black Stripe Tracker
OT Tegra Tshabola (redshirt freshman) – March 23
OT George Fitzpatrick (redshirt freshman) – March 23
CB Davison Igbinosun (sophomore transfer) – March 25
WR Carnell Tate – March 25
QB Tristan Gebbia (graduate) – April 1
OL Quinton Burke (senior walk-on) – April 1
TE Jelani Thurman – April 7
S Malik Hartford – April 7
RB Chase Brecht (sophomore walk-on) – April 7
QB Chad Ray (senior walk-on) – April 12
OL Vic Cutler (graduate) – August 10
OL Jimmy Simmons (redshirt sophomore) – August 10
OL Luke Montgomery – August 12
DT Tywone Malone (redshirt sophomore transfer) – August 12
WR Bryson Rodgers – August 15
CB Jermaine Mathews, Jr. – August 15
WR David Adolph (redshirt freshman walk-on) – August 16
CB Lorenzo Styles, Jr. – August 16
Freshmen Still Waiting
QB Lincoln Kienholz | WR Noah Rogers | WR Brandon Inniss | OT Miles Walker | OG Austin Siereveld | OC Josh Padilla | DE Joshua Mickens | DL Jason Moore | DT Will Smith, Jr. | DT Kayden McDonald | LB Arvell Reese | LB Nigel Glover | CB Calvin Simpson-Hunt | SAF Cedrick Hawkins | SAF Jayden Bonsu
Transfers Still Waiting
SAF Ja’Had Carter | LS John Ferlmann