“Ohio State CB Damon Arnette: Whoever emerges in the secondary for the Buckeyes is a good bet to become a star.”
- Brian Bennett, ESPN
The Big Ten conference had plenty of playmakers show what they’re capable of in each player’s respective spring game. Brian Bennett delved into some of the key players this spring that seem ready for a breakout season, starting with Penn State wide receiver Juwan Johnson and then going through the rest of the teams to find a playmaker for each. It was a bit surprising to not see wide receiver Johnnie Dixon selected after his tremendous performance in the spring game, but consider Ohio State has to replace two lockdown cornerbacks, it makes sense that Bennett would choose to go with cornerback Damon Arnette.
Arnette got some limited action last season as a redshirt freshman but performed well enough in the spring that he’s been given the nod at the cornerback position opposite of Denzel Ward. With the amount of raw talent lined up on that spot of the depth chart, Arnette’s rise to the starting spot is impressive and despite the big shoes to fill from Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore, appears ready for the challenge this season.
“Once I got healthy I had to show everybody what I could do. I knew what type of athletic ability I have. I had to get out there and show them.”
- Marshon Lattimore via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
Marshon Lattimore’s journey from growing up to attending Cleveland Glenville, then going to Ohio State to now about to be a high selection in the 2017 NFL draft is nothing short of amazing. You can read his full story with the link above, but just in Columbus alone, Lattimore was sidelined for a couple of seasons with hamstring injuries and didn’t seem like he would reach his full potential because of it. Finally, in 2016, Lattimore was fully healthy and earned the starting cornerback spot opposite of Gareon Conley and the rest is history. Lattimore helped solidify one of the strongest secondaries in the country which propelled the Buckeyes to an appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Now Lattimore is projected to go as high as in the top five picks - which would make him the highest player ever taken from Cleveland Glenville (Donte Whitner went eighth overall in 2006). The Glenville-Ohio State pipeline has certainly played a major part in the Buckeyes success with names like Lattimore, Whitner, Ted Ginn Jr., Troy Smith, and Cardale Jones to name a few. Lattimore could end up being the best of them all if he’s able to carry his success to the NFL.
“Is the man who carried Ohio State's offense last season a receiver or a running back in the NFL?
- Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
There’s been plenty of hype surrounding the top of the NFL draft and a couple of Ohio State defensive backs that are looking to have their names called sooner rather than later. But perhaps one of the more intriguing players from the Buckeyes is do-it-all H-back Curtis Samuel. Samuel was used in many different ways with Ohio State and was without question their most dynamic playmaker last season. He also was the only player in the country to have 700 or more yards both in rushing and receiving and helped make a stagnant Buckeye offense spark. But despite the interest level from NFL teams, it doesn’t seem likely that Samuel will go in the first round.
It doesn’t help his cause that when he ran a blistering 4.31 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, he was overshadowed by the fact that John Ross broke the record with a 4.22 time right before Samuel went up to run his. Still, NFL teams are always in need of players that can both get the ball on handoffs and make plays as a receiver and there aren’t many better in this draft at that skillset than Curtis Samuel.
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