The 2013 season will see cornerback Bradley Roby try to shutdown opposing wide receivers and hopefully earn All-American honors. High caliber cornerback prospects such as Eli Apple will also make their way to Columbus this year trying to make some noise in their first year on campus.
With the 1990s producing shutdown corners like Antoine Winfield and Shawn Springs, the bar was raised for those that followed in first decade of the new century. There were a number of cornerbacks that made a name for themselves while at Ohio State during the aughts, but there was two corners that really stood out from the rest.
The candidates are:
Nate Clements (1998-2000)
While Clements may have started his Ohio State career outside the aughts, his best (and final) season for the Buckeyes came in 2000 when he intercepted four passes on his way to being named to the All-Big Ten first team at cornerback. The decision for Clements to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft after his junior season looked to be the right one though, as he was drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and has played 12 years in the NFL with three teams.
Derek Ross (1998-2001)
While Ross had nine interceptions in his Ohio State career, he did most of his damage in 2001 when he led the Buckeyes and the Big Ten with seven interceptions. Ross was named to the All-Big Ten second team for his ballhawking in what turned out to be his final season at Ohio State. After the 2001 Michigan game, Ross made himself eligible for the 2002 NFL Draft, as he was facing shoulder and toe surgeries that forced him to miss the 2002 Outback Bowl.
Dustin Fox (2001-2004)
While most of the corners on this list left Ohio State after their junior season, Fox was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes at corner. Fox was named honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2002 and was named second team All-Big Ten in 2003. The 2002 and 2003 seasons saw Fox intercept three passes in each season, forming quite a formidable corner duo with Chris Gamble. Fox was a part of Jim Tressel's first recruiting class and was a beacon of consistency in the defensive backfield during his time with the Buckeyes.
Ashton Youboty (2003-2005)
The Liberian-born Youboty came to Columbus in 2003 from Texas, where not only was he a star at cornerback but he was also a track sprinting standout. The first major action that Youboty saw was in 2004 when he started nine games and was able to tie for the Big Ten conference lead with four interceptions. 2005 saw Youboty be named first team All-Big Ten as he amassed 56 tackles, ranking fourth on the very stout defense that the Buckeyes possessed that year.
But The Winners Are....
Chris Gamble (2001-2003)
Originally recruited to Ohio State as a wide receiver, it was hard to believe when he arrived in Columbus that we would be talking about Chris Gamble on an all-decade team at cornerback, but he was just that good during his time as a Buckeye.
With a need at the cornerback position, Gamble stepped up and didn't take long to adjust to the position. In five games during the 2002 season Gamble started on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football, and hauled in four interceptions during the season. The coming out party for Gamble on defense had to have been the Penn State game, when he not only put the Buckeyes ahead with his interception return, but he also saved a touchdown tackling a Penn State defender after a Craig Krenzel fumble.
2003 saw Gamble return to focus primarily on the defensive side of the football, earning 1st team All-Big Ten honors as he intercepted three passes during the campaign. After his junior season Gamble declared himself eligible for the NFL and was taken in the first round by the Carolina Panthers. In his rookie season he started all 16 games and tied for the NFC lead with six interceptions. To go from a wide receiver to a first round NFL draft pick at cornerback in three years just shows how much talent Chris Gamble really had.
Malcolm Jenkins (2005-2008)
When talking about Ohio State cornerbacks, one name near the top of the list for decades to come will undoubtedly be Malcolm Jenkins. Once Jenkins made his way from New Jersey to Columbus he immediately began making a name for himself, starting three games in the secondary during his freshman season.
The sophomore season of Jenkins saw him build off what he learned as a freshman. 2006 saw Jenkins earn the first of three All-Big Ten first team selections during his career at Ohio State. Jenkins started all 13 games for the Buckeyes during his sophomore, which would start a streak of 39 consecutive starts that Jenkins had during his final three seasons in Columbus.
In his junior season, Jenkins matched the four interceptions that he had swiped during his sophomore season, including for the second year in a row returning a interception for touchdown against Penn State. While Jenkins was named again first team All-Big Ten, he was also named second team All-American.
The senior season of Jenkins saw more of the outstanding play that had come to be expected from him, and he was recognized for his work. Jenkins was named a consensus All-American and became the second Buckeye to take home the Thorpe Award, which is given to college football's top defensive back.
In the years since his Ohio State career ended, Jenkins is continuing to perform at the high level that we saw him play at while he was in Columbus. He was taken in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL, named second team All-Pro in 2010, and picked up a Super Bowl ring as the Saints defeated the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Let us know if you agree with our choices of the cornerbacks for our "All-Decade Team" or had some other choices in mind.