Denzel Burke Ohio State Buckeyes Cornerback

Spring Preview: Buckeye Cornerbacks Deep, Talented, And Competitive


The Buckeyes return five of their top seven cornerbacks from last season, including senior nickel back Jordan Hancock who will be discussed more in our safeties preview. Starters Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun are back, as is sophomore Jermaine Mathews, Jr. who got a start against Rutgers last year as a true freshman. Classmate Calvin Simpson-Hunt redshirted, as did Notre Dame receiver transfer Lorenzo Styles, Jr. Three true freshmen are being added to the mix this spring.

Scholarship Roster

Denzel Burke, Sr, 6-1 190
Expected to be a first-round NFL draft pick in 2025.
Davison Igbinosun, Jr, 6-2 190
Could join Denzel Burke on Night One of the NFL draft next year.
Lorenzo Styles, Jr., rJr, 6-1 195
Redshirted last year after making move from Notre Dame and wide receiver.
Jermaine Mathews, Jr., Soph, 5-11 182
Impressive freshman season last year, earning a start.
Calvin Simpson-Hunt, rFr, 6-1 195
Redshirted but impressed in the four games he played in.
Aaron Scott, Fr, 6-2 190
Arguably the top cornerback in the 2024 recruiting class.
Bryce West, Fr, 5-11 183
Played everywhere in the secondary for Glenville, could do same at OSU.
Miles Lockhart, Fr, 5-10 185
Was recruited to play nickel, but could get a look outside as well.

For Starters

Denzel Burke is entering his fourth year as a starter at Ohio State. The last four-year starter at cornerback for the Buckeyes was William White from 1984-1987. Malcolm Jenkins did get some starts at the end of his true freshman season in 2005, but both White and Burke were full-time starters as true freshmen. Burke was a First-Team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-America selection last year. Davison Igbinosun is headed into his third year as a starter. He won the job as a sophomore last year after transferring in from Ole Miss where he was a Freshman All-American in 2022. Igbinosun finished third on the team with 59 tackles last year. His 39 solo tackles were just two off of the team lead.

New Additions

The Buckeyes signed three cornerbacks in the 2024 recruiting class, and all three have enrolled early. Aaron Scott is a five-star prospect out of Springfield, Ohio who was ranked the No. 6 corner in the nation. Bryce West is the latest Cleveland Glenville cornerback to sign with Ohio State, joining past Tarblooders such as Ted Ginn, Jr. and Marshon Lattimore. West was ranked the No. 9 cornerback in the nation. The Buckeyes went to Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona to sign Miles Lockhart, who is slated to play the nickel safety position down the road.

Spring Depth Chart

10Denzel Burke
1Davison Igbinosun
24Jermaine Mathews, Jr.
4Lorenzo Styles, Jr. OR
15Calvin Simpson-Hunt
NAAaron Scott OR
NABryce West OR
NAMiles Lockhart

What’s The Latest

If Denzel Burke had chosen to head off to the NFL after last season, the Buckeye coaches would have been sad to see him go, but would have also been confident that Jermaine Mathews, Jr. was ready to step up. Mathews was everything the coaches thought he’d be when they put him through the ringer at a summer camp as a high schooler. Mathews doesn’t back down, and even with two returning starters in front of him, he is going to treat this spring as if he is a starter as well.


This group of cornerbacks should be one of the best in the nation — if not the very best. And that’s not even including Jordan Hancock in the mix. Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun are both aggressive, lock-down guys also who have no problems with physicality. They can turn and run, or help in run support. They do not provide much room to throw, and that isn’t expected to change this year. Their presence this spring may be limited, however, because of their experience and the need to see more from everybody else.

One Question Needing An Answer

How deep does the cornerback room go? Confidence is obviously high in Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun, as well as Jermaine Mathews, Jr. But what about behind them? Calvin Simpson-Hunt will be going through his first spring at Ohio State, as will Lorenzo Styles, Jr. and the three freshmen. There should be some answers provided this spring because Burke and Igbinosun won’t need an abundance of work. That will mean more snaps for Mathews, Simpson-Hunt, and Styles especially. This will give cornerbacks coach Tim Walton more of an idea of what he’ll have heading into fall camp

Breakout Candidate

If we agree that Jermaine Mathews, Jr. already broke out last spring and last season, then we can move on to a pair of candidates who are next in line. Lorenzo Styles, Jr. is a veteran college football player at this point. He is headed into his fourth year in college and his second year as a cornerback. He already understands the nuances of the two positions, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that in effect this spring. Also, Calvin Simpson-Hunt looks like how you want cornerbacks to look. As his high school head coach said, he’s got “Avatar arms.” His length and physicality are impressive. He is not unlike Davison Igbinosun in that way. Aaron Scott could be the next in line for that description, for what it’s worth.


Defensive Tackle: Buckeyes Surround Returning Starters With Youth

Offensive Line: Buckeyes Much Deeper Than They Were A Year Ago

Defensive Ends: Ohio State Defensive Ends Just Getting Started

Tight Ends: Buckeye Tight Ends Have Big Shoes To Fill

Linebackers: Two New Starters Must Be Found

Running Backs: Thunder, Lightning, And More

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