“Kerry is real. I could trust him. He didn’t [B.S.] you, he didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear, and then there’s the fact that he actually did what he said he was going to. He took care of Damon Webb. They’ve done a good job with Mikey [Weber]. I’m still waiting to see what’s going to happen with Josh [Alabi].”
- Jermain Crowell via Ryan Donnelly, Land of 10
Ohio State lost Kerry Coombs to the NFL as Coombs joined the Tennessee Titans coaching staff — and former Buckeye Mike Vrabel — as the team’s secondary coach. After spending several seasons under Urban Meyer, Coombs moved on but his absence won’t just be felt on the field. In fact, one of Coombs best attributes was his ability to recruit the Cincinnati and Detroit areas in Ohio and Michigan, respectively. Coombs helped recruit players such as Damon Webb, Mike Weber, Michael Jordan, and Joshua Alabi to Columbus and all have been great contributors to the Buckeyes besides Alabi, though he still has some time to make an impact.
Next in line to replace Coombs is Taver Johnson, who is tasked with taking over the relationships started by Coombs in Detroit. How well he does could determine how successful Ohio State is at continuing to recruit the Detroit area. It’s clear that the Cass Tech coaching staff trusted Coombs and will now try and begin to trust Johnson with their players.
“But the buzz around Browning has been building since before the Cotton Bowl, with his work on the practice field already standing out and forcing Ohio State to brainstorm ways to get him on the field. He was one of the stars of spring, and an opportunity has presented itself now at his natural position.”
Linebacker is one of the more interesting positions heading into the 2018 season for Ohio State. One of the main topics surrounding the position is the battle at middle linebacker. Tuf Borland was considered the starting middle linebacker until he suffered an Achilles injury this spring. Now, Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard are battling it out for the starting spot until Borland returns (which is expected to be in September).
Even if Borland returns though, Browning has the potential to still start on the outside. And if that happens, it might mean good things to come for Browning as a potential leading tackler for the Ohio State defense this season. Browning is a similar build of former Buckeye Raekwon McMillan and has the tools to be a great linebacker, but will have to execute during games this season to really be given the nod.
“It was [Keandre] Jones starting with the ones during the spring game, but Meyer has talked up Werner -- a key special teams member -- since he arrived last year. It ultimately wouldn’t be surprising if Werner pushes his way into some kind of rotation here.”
- Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
Speaking of the Ohio State linebackers, a name that is popping up quite a bit is Keandre Jones at outside linebacker along with Peter Werner. Werner is a household name in special teams at the moment and has received quite a bit of praise from Urban Meyer, which can only be a good sign. Jones on the other hand, started at linebacker for the Buckeyes during the spring game and performed decently.
One thing to note would be that if Borland returns from his injury and replaces Baron Browning, we could see Browning sliding over to replace Jones at outside linebacker.
Still, Keandre Jones is in his junior season and will be looking to contribute alongside Borland and Malik Harrison, who seems to have locked up the strong side linebacker spot for the upcoming season. Of course, Dante Booker could also challenge Harrison if he can stay healthy, but that isn’t a sure thing based off Booker’s career thus far.
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