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Kendall Sheffield is ready to take the next step for Ohio State

Also, Musa Jallow’s summer plans could return dividends for the Buckeyes.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

“[Kendall Sheffield] started three games, but was part of a three-man rotation that saw equal reps split between him, Denzel Ward, and Damon Arnette. Now with Ward off to the NFL, the Buckeyes need the returning cornerbacks to step up.”

-Tony Gerdeman, The OZone

The path for cornerback Kendall Sheffield to make it to the starting lineup for Ohio State has been a long and winding one. However, as we turn our sights towards the fall, much will be expected of him, now that Denzel Ward is firmly entrenched with the Cleveland Browns.

Sheffield was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Missouri City, Texas in 2015. He initially decided to go to Alabama, but after his redshirt-freshman year, he transferred to Blinn College (a Junior College), before joining the Buckeyes last year. So, in his first three seasons of college football, Sheffield played at three schools, and— with Kerry Coombs exit for the NFL— he is now on his fourth position coach as well.

However, according to Gerdeman, new OSU secondary coach Taver Johnson said that Sheffield is showing marked improvement in one specific area, literally keeping his eye on the ball.

“He’s done a really nice job of just really concentrating on his eyes, because playing his position, for sure what you look at is everything and when you’re supposed to look at it,” Johnson said.

The confidence in Sheffield’s improvements prompted the football coaching staff to allow him to run track during the indoor season. It went so well, that Sheffield set a new school record with a 6.63 time in the 60-meter dash. His speed is undeniable, but if the redshirt-junior is going to be able to continue the tradition of Ohio State DBs dominating opposing receivers, Johnson thinks that he will need to add some physicality to his game.

“He is a physical guy and a physical specimen,” Johnson said. “Seeing him play physical a little bit more is what we talk about. He wants to... I think the sky is the limit for Kendall.”

“Of the 32 players called into training camp for the United States U18 national team training camp, Musa Jallow is already a standout for one key reason.”

-Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

Musa Jallow’s recruitment to Ohio State, and then his up-and-down freshman season, is one of the under-discussed stories from Chis Holtmann’s first season in Columbus. The Bloomington, Ind., native reclassified in order to be able to enter college as a 17-year-old. He then started 10 of the team’s first 14 games, before he saw his minutes significantly decline throughout the season; to the point where he played a combined nine minutes in the Buckeyes three postseason games, logging no time in the Big Ten Tournament loss to Penn State.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that he is still just 18 years old (and won’t turn 19 until early February), and is currently participating in the USA Basketball U18 national team training camp. Jallow said that his experience in the college game was a reason that he was invited to camp.

“They want a team that can win and they need leadership and guys with experience at higher levels,” Jallow told Jardy. “I’m the only kid that’s been in college (in camp), so I fit the mold pretty well.”

FIBA Americas U18 Championship will tip off on Sunday, June 10 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. The US team for the upcoming tournament will be announced soon, but whether or not Jallow gets the opportunity to continue with the team or not, he has picked up invaluable experience and exposure that he should be able to bring back with him to Columbus.

With the departure of Kam Williams, Andrew Dakich, and Jae’Sean Tate, OSU will be in need of ball-handlers in the fall. C.J. Jackson will be back, and former Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods is now in the Buckeye-fold as a graduate transfer, but Jallow should have opportunities to show that he deserves playing time. And, if he is able to up his game while playing with and against some of the best young talent in the hemisphere this summer, who knows, maybe he will stick in the starting lineup all season this time around.

“A Buckeye will fill Team USA’s 65-kg slot for the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary (Oct. 20-28). That much is known. Which Ohio State rep it is will be decided on June 16.”

-Ohio State Athletics

Now, this isn’t Shawn Michaels super-kicking Marty Jannety in Brutus the Barber Beefcake’s Barber Shop in 1992, but it is a bit of an interesting matchup of former teammates. Rising Buckeye senior Joey McKenna will face recent OSU alum Logan Stieber in a best-of-three series to determine who will represent the USA in this fall’s world championships.

Not only are the two wrestlers former OSU teammates, but they are also training partners, and, in fact, will continue to prepare for next month’s series together. Normally the Ohio State coaching staff would be in the corner for both wrestlers if they were competing against anyone else, but with the Buckeyes facing off, the coaching staff will look to avoid any conflict and will be sitting this one out; I’m sure cheering on both equally, like any good parents should do.

McKenna advanced to the finals by winning the 2018 U.S. Open title, while Stieber got his berth via the World Team Trials Challenge. Another former Buckeye, Kyle Snyder will compete for his spot on the team the week before.