The 2010s are coming to an end and we can’t help but reminisce about the memories that the decade brought with it— a national championship, four Big Ten titles, four head coaches, and some of the best to ever wear the scarlet and gray.
To wrap up the decade, we want to hear from you about who you think should comprise the Ohio State Buckeyes’ All-Decade team. From now until the end of the year, we will be going position by position and giving you the candidates so that you can decide who receives this honor more prestigious than a tree in Buckeye Grove, a pair of gold pants, or a ring so big that you have to cary a 10 pound weight in the other hand just to stay balanced.
You’ll be able to vote in the positional articles through Dec. 30 at 12 noon ET, and on Twitter for one week after the poll goes up. Keep in mind that since we are conducting part of the voting on Twitter, we are limited to just four options per position, so this is going to be tough!
Once all the votes are in for every position, we’ll reveal the final All-Decade roster on the final day of the 2010s.
Next up: Cornerback. Here are your candidates:
Bradley Roby (2011-2013)
Ohio State has earned the only rightful claim in college football to the title of DBU, and this prolonged stretch of elite talent at the cornerback position in the last decade really kicked off with Bradley Roby.
Roby started in all 37 games he played for the Buckeyes, but had his best year in 2012. As a sophomore, he led the nation in passes defended with 19 on two interceptions and a school record tying 17 pass breakups. That same year, Roby was the only defensive player in the nation to score touchdowns in three different ways: a fumble recovery TD against Miami, a blocked punt recovery TD against Indiana, and a pick-six against Nebraska.
A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Roby totaled 178 tackles, eight interceptions and 36 PBUs over his three-year career at Ohio State. Projected to be a first or second round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, he instead elected to return for his junior year. After recording 69 tackles, three picks and two blocked punts in his final collegiate season, Roby was selected at No. 31 overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Eli Apple (2014-2015)
As a five-star prospect out of high school, and the No. 11 recruit in the nation according to the ESPN 150, Eli Apple came to Ohio State in 2013 with a whole lot of hype, and did not disappoint.
Despite only playing for the Buckeyes for two seasons after redshirting his freshman year, Apple made a huge impact almost instantly once inserted into the lineup for the first time. In 2014 as a redshirt freshman, Apple started in 14 of 15 games, recording 53 tackles with 5.5 for loss, three interceptions and a team-high 10 PBUs.
His final takeaway from his impressive first season was his most memorable, picking off Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to seal Ohio State’s National Championship victory over the Oregon Ducks.
Apple would follow up his 2014 campaign with a strong 2015, compiling 33 tackles with a pick and seven PBUs. He would wind up being one of the top prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft, being selected No. 10 overall by the New York Giants.
Marshon Lattimore (2015-2016)
A hamstring injury limited his playing time to only seven games in his redshirt freshman season, but Marshon Lattimore was clearly one of the best defensive players on the field in the time he spent as a starter at Ohio State.
Finally healthy in 2016, Lattimore had his breakout season. Starting in all 13 games, the redshirt sophomore hauled in four interceptions — good for second on the team — with a team-high nine PBUs and 41 total tackles. His impressive year led him to be selected to the first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches.
One of his most memorable plays was in a heavy rain-aided fury from Ohio State’s defense in the closing minutes of the first half against Tulsa in 2016. One of two interceptions by Lattimore in the game, he and Malik Hooker each recorded a pick-six before halftime to send the Buckeye crowd into a frenzy.
Almost as impressive as his ability to make plays in the passing game was his ability to stop the run. Lattimore was a dominant force on all phases of the defense, and earned himself the No. 11 overall selection by the New Orleans Saints in the 2017 NFL Draft.
NEW at @draftbreakdown: CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) vs Clemson (2016) https://t.co/jPMzc6WaVs pic.twitter.com/IYWjx0R8cW— Matheus Milanez (@biffmila) February 4, 2017
NEW at @draftbreakdown: CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) vs Wisconsin (2016) https://t.co/LwIsZf9BzI pic.twitter.com/Htf5fPdrid— Matheus Milanez (@biffmila) October 28, 2016
Denzel Ward (2015-2017)
The human highlight reel himself, Denzel Ward did not burst onto the scene until his junior year, but when he did it was a pleasure to watch.
In a crowded cornerbacks room his first two seasons, Ward could not quite crack the starting lineup. After recording just seven total tackles in 2015, he found himself in the rotation more often in his sophomore year, where despite limited playing time he still managed to rack up 23 total tackles and nine pass breakups. It was not until his junior year in 2017 that Ohio State discovered just what kind of player it had in Ward.
In his first full season as a starter, Ward lit the Big Ten on fire with 37 tackles, two interceptions and a whopping 15 PBUs, good for third-best in the conference. Ward could have had even better stats in his final season with the Buckeyes, but teams eventually just stopped throwing his way in fear of the result. Ward would wind up a consensus All-American, and would become the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
Ward made so many huge plays in his Ohio State career that words cannot truly do him justice. Let’s just roll the tape:
Ohio State CB Denzel Ward (@Flash_Ward12) 2017 Highlights— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) February 13, 2018
Denzel Ward is the NEXT GREAT Buckeye DB in the NFL. He possesses incredible speed and ball skills. He's also not afraid to come up and tackle bigger offensive players
Full Video : https://t.co/flhe1c75PY pic.twitter.com/KvQQEOzOlw
Ohio State is back in business.— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) October 28, 2017
Denzel Ward blocks a Penn State punt on @CFBONFOX! pic.twitter.com/YyfDndy6lO
Denzel Ward gets his hand on the kick. Big play by Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/jGgKRUAXT0— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) November 25, 2017
Remember, since we are limited to four options on Twitter polls, some other great Buckeye corners had to be left out. Guys like Gareon Conley, Doran Grant and Jeff Okudah all certainly have arguments to make the list. If you want to tell us how wrong we are for leaving your favorite CB out, or if you want to make your case for one of the candidates, please feel free to do so in the comments below!
Which Buckeye cornerbacks should be on Ohio State’s All-Decade team? The top two will be selected.
Who was Ohio State’s best cornerback of the decade?
This poll is closed