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Three Questions about the 2023 Ohio State secondary

Have the Buckeyes adjusted their approach from 2022?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOV 26 Michigan at Ohio State Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Early spring is the time for vigorous change, a preparation for the heat-driven oppression that is to come.” ~ Henry Rollins

Please bring on the heat, if you can, Mr. Rollins. It is always welcomed enthusiastically by me.

As Ohio State spring football continues on, I have decided to write a series of articles on a weekly basis to identify and rank the position groups, from least to most concerning, as they pertain to the upcoming 2023 season. Each week, I will point out questions I have about these position groups, and it is my hope that several, if not all, of these questions will be answered by the Ohio State Spring Game on April 15.


Secondary | Concern Ranking: 2nd

  • Scholarship Players Lost From The 2022 Squad: Cameron Brown, Jantzen Dunn, JK Johnson, Jaylen Johnson, Ronnie Hickman, Tanner McCalister
  • Scholarship Players Returning From The 2022 Squad: Jyaire Brown, Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, Cameron Martinez, Josh Proctor, Kye Stokes, Sonny Styles, Ryan Turner, Kourt Williams II
  • Freshmen Players Participating In 2023 Spring Football: Malik Hartford, Jermaine Mathews, Jr.

Reason for my ranking: Ohio State’s secondary was heavily scrutinized by the fans for its poor play versus Michigan and Georgia — the two biggest opponents on the two biggest stages. Key players have departed, but Ohio State was able to supplement the roster with two key additions from the transfer portal in Davison Igbinosun (Mississippi) and Ja’Had Carter (Syracuse).

Will the additions of Igbinosun and Carter, as well as another year of tutelage from cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and safeties coach Perry Eliano translate into better play on the field in 2023?


  1. Has The Defensive Coaching Staff Learned From Its Mistakes Of 2022?

Every Ohio State fan can unfortunately see the big plays given up against Michigan and Georgia when they close their eyes and reflect upon the 2022 season. While no secondary is invulnerable to giving up big plays, the coaching staff’s inexplicable decisions to play with no deep safety help against Michigan and Georgia deserved the scorn and scrutiny of the fan base.

Some painful statistics to remind people: eight plays of at least 45 yards given up against the Wolverines and Bulldogs, six of which resulted in touchdowns. It will bear watching this season to see if lessons have been learned and mistakes corrected.

2. Can Denzel Burke Rebound From A Shaky 2022 Season?

Burke started as a true freshman in 2021, and Ohio State fans were optimistically expecting big things in 2022. Burke battled injuries and inconsistent play in 2022, and could be bouncing back with a strong 2023 season. Burke will be a necessary component for an Ohio State secondary that will lean on experience going into the 2023 season.

3. What Role Will Sonny Styles Play In 2023?

Sonny Styles has captivated Ohio State fans and coaches with his impressive athletic talents and physical style of play. Styles should be a true freshman, but graduated a year early to play for Ohio State in 2022, and was trusted enough to be on the field versus Georgia in the Peach Bowl. With the abundance of players at safety, where will Styles line up in 2023?