This is the eighth installment in a series where Buckeye Huddle looks back on each member of Ohio State’s 2023 signing class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming 2024 season. Up next is cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt.
Calvin Simpson-Hunt signed with Ohio State out of Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie, Texas where he was a High School All-American. As a senior, he posted 25 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, three passes defended, and one fumble recovery while rarely being targeted by the opponent’s quarterback. He was also a track athlete, posting a 10.67 100M as a junior.
Simpson-Hunt committed to Texas Tech during his junior year, but would eventually land offers from Oregon, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, and Alabama in the winter and spring after the season. Two weeks after taking an official visit to OSU in June, Simpson-Hunt flipped his commitment from the Red Raiders to the Buckeyes. He was ranked the No. 8 cornerback in the 2023 class and the No. 62 player overall.
Calvin Simpson-Hunt didn’t enroll until June because he didn’t want to leave his track teammates in a bind. This put him behind some of his classmates who enrolled in the winter, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make. Simpson-Hunt played in the Buckeyes’ final five games last season, including the bowl game, which means he took a redshirt and still has four years of eligibility remaining.
Simpson-Hunt (6-1 195) was credited with two tackles on the season, both coming in the game against Minnesota. It was a play one week prior, however, that caught head coach Ryan Day’s attention. Michigan State had a second-and-10 with Ohio State leading comfortably 38-3 in the second half. The Spartans threw a screen pass to a running back and Simpson-Hunt took on the right guard to help bring down the ball carrier.
It was just one play, but it gave a glimpse of his make up.
“They’re all gradable snaps on film and it doesn’t matter what the score is,” Day said after that game. “That should have nothing to do with it, you know? For example, just a young guy that just flashed to me was Calvin Simpson-Hunt on that screen play. I mean, just what a great play for him to show up there. So now the coaches see that, they say, ‘Wait a minute now, maybe we should be looking at this guy,’ you know?”
So Now What For Calvin Simpson-Hunt?
The Buckeyes are fairly loaded at cornerback this coming season, with everybody returning from last year’s team. There are 66 career starts split among rising seniors Denzel Burke (35) and Jordan Hancock (8), rising junior Davison Igbinosun (22), and rising sophomore Jermaine Mathews, Jr. (1).
Because his playing time was limited last year, there is still a bit of mystery to his game. According to his high school head coach Shane Tolleson, however, Simpson-Hunt should be able to handle himself.
“Calvin, good frame, good structure,” Tolleson told Buckeye Huddle last year. “He’s a track guy – 10.6 100-meter – so he has the physical attributes to make an impact. He is more physically ready than some high school guys.”
With Hancock manning the nickel position, Calvin Simpson-Hunt will be competing with Notre Dame transfer Lorenzo Styles, Jr. to be the Buckeyes’ fourth corner. With what is expected to be a long season, talented cornerback depth will always be welcome. This is especially true with OSU’s recent history of injuries at the position.
Another expectation is for Simpson-Hunt to continue to get better and better throughout the winter, spring, and fall camp, which should have him pushing for playing time this coming season.
“He doesn’t say much. He’s a processor,” Tolleson said. “He thinks before he acts, but he’s a quick learner. Once he gets it, it’s one of those deals where, listen, he gave up one catch in 13 games. But it’s never because ‘that guy did something right.’ It’s because ‘I did something wrong.’ That’s his approach to it. And he’ll fix it.”