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Denzel Ward is primed to be the next first round Ohio State cornerback

Last year’s “third starter” is already being talked about as a first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“I know he didn’t walk out for the first snap of the game, but [Ward] played the same number of snaps as Marshon and Gareon. We had a true three-man rotation. There was never a series where he didn’t go in and somebody didn’t come out.”

Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs via Ryan Ginn, Land of 10

Many times when a team has three players at a position taken in the first round of the NFL Draft in a two-year span, it takes some time to replenish their stock of quality players to replace those draft picks. Ohio State isn’t your normal team, especially when it comes to cornerbacks. When the Buckeyes kick off their 2017 season, they’ll have a number of players who will be ready to take the field and continue the recent tradition of strong play at cornerback.

The cornerback who position coach Kerry Coombs is most excited about this year is Denzel Ward, who Coombs refers to as Ohio State’s third starting cornerback last year. While technically Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley were the starters at cornerbacks for Ohio State during the 2016, Ward was on the field just as much as the duo. The rotation that Coombs employed will help Ohio State to lessen the losses of the two cornerbacks taken in last week’s NFL Draft. Now as Ward is the elder statesman among the cornerbacks, he is also taking more of a leadership role and helping his fellow corners improve. If Ward is able to match the high expectations placed upon him, it’s likely Coombs will see another cornerback taken early on in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“I just want to get better at everything. There is not one thing that I feel like I’m weak at so I feel like I need to up everything I do and I think I have so far a lot.”

Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa via Tim Shoemaker, Eleven Warriors

After what his older brother did during his time in Columbus, expectations were high for Nick Bosa even before he set foot on the field for the Buckeyes. An ACL injury during his senior year of high school brought some of those expectations back to reality, but the younger Bosa still had a big impact for Ohio State’s defense last year. While Joey Bosa registered 7.5 sacks as a starter during his freshman year, Nick registered five sacks while sharing time with Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, and Tyquan Lewis.

Now that Nick Bosa is completely recovered from the ACL injury he suffered during his senior year of high school, even bigger things are expected from the defensive end in his sophomore season with the Buckeyes. The older Bosa really made a name for himself during his sophomore season, and while defensive line coach Larry Johnson isn’t expecting Nick Bosa to exactly mirror Joey’s growth, Johnson is looking for steady improvement from Nick. If Nick Bosa is able to continue to improve at the rate he has so far during his short time in Columbus, it could be another long season for quarterbacks that have to go up against the Buckeyes this year.

“The final four teams left standing in collegiate men’s volleyball will continue to do battle inside St. John’s Arena for the NCAA Semifinals Thursday (May 4) before coming to a crescendo Saturday evening with the NCAA Finals aired nationally on ESPN2.”

Ohio State athletic department

Defending champion Ohio State will have a home-court advantage when the NCAA men’s volleyball Final Four gets underway tonight at St. John’s Arena. The top-seeded Buckeyes will face Hawaii in tonight’s second semifinal with the winner moving on to battle the winner of the other semifinal between Long Beach State and BYU. Earlier this week five Buckeyes received All-American honors, with Miles Johnson and Nicolas Szerszen being named to the first-team. Johnson is the active NCAA leader in kills, while Szerszen is the active leader in aces. Along with the duo, Christy Blough is the active NCAA leader in assists, Gabriel Domecus is the active leader in digs, and Driss Guessous is the active leader in hitting percentage.

St. John’s Arena has always been kind to Ohio State, where the Buckeyes have posted a 541-104 record in 50 years of competing at the historic venue. This year Ohio State posted the best record in the country, going 30-2 as they aim to win back-to-back volleyball national titles. Should Ohio State and BYU advance to the final, it will be a rematch of last year’s final, where Ohio State swept BYU 32-30, 25-23, 25-17. If Ohio State is able to take home the championship for the second straight year, it will mark their third men’s volleyball title in school history, with all of them coming since 2011.

“I told them, ‘Listen, everyone is tired at this time of year and you reset the clock.’. You play for May. You play for your teammates. The NCAA championship is your ultimate goal and you don’t want it to end.”

Ohio State lacrosse coach Nick Myers via Mark Znidar, The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State’s men’s lacrosse team is already in good shape to make their third NCAA Tournament since 2013, but that isn’t enough for the Buckeyes. After amassing a 12-3 record in the regular season, Ohio State will play Johns Hopkins tonight in one of the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in Columbus. Maryland and Penn State play in the other semifinal, with the winners squaring off in the championship game on Saturday night. Not only would a win against Johns Hopkins earn them a spot in the Big Ten title game, but it would also possibly earn them a first round NCAA Tournament game at home.

While Ohio State cruised through most of the regular season, they suffered a hiccup in the season finale with a 12-11 loss to Rutgers, which denied the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Being able to play not only the Big Ten Tournament at home, but also the possibility of getting a NCAA Tournament game at home, will likely put some extra pep in Ohio State’s step after the disappointing finish to the regular season. After quarterfinal appearances in 2013 and 2015, this could be the year the Buckeyes finally get over the hump and make their first Final Four appearance.