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Player to Watch: Davison Igbinosun looks to make an immediate impact at Ohio State

The corner will try and help to restore some glory to a unit that has struggled over the past few years.

Central Arkansas v Ole Miss Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Every day from now until the start of the season, Land-Grant Holy Land is highlighting Ohio State football players that you should be watching this season. Check out all of our ”Player to Watch” articles to get ready for the season opener against Indiana.

For a while it felt like Ohio State was annually putting at least one defensive back in the first round of the NFL Draft. Over the last few years, the play in the secondary has fallen off. The low points came in the shortened 2020 season and in 2021, when it felt like Ohio State was constantly giving up big plays through the air. Last year did see some improvement in the pass defense of the Buckeyes... up until the two biggest games of the season.

Head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator knew if they were going to take the next step towards a national title, they were going to have to add to what they had in the secondary. Enter Davison Igbinosun, who transferred to Ohio State from Ole Miss.

Coming out of high school in New Jersey, Igbinosun was interested in Ohio State, but the feeling wasn’t mutual, as the Buckeyes didn’t offer the cornerback. Igbinosun ended up picking Ole Miss over offers from Kentucky, Tennessee, Pitt, Duke, and Rutgers.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 29 Ole Miss at Texas A&M Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Igbinosun burst onto the scene in Oxford, earning Freshman All-American honors with his play for Ole Miss. The cornerback didn’t have any interceptions last season, but did break up five passes and was credited with 37 total tackles. With some of the high-profile games, and hostile environments the Rebels played in last year, adjusting to the pressures that come with playing at Ohio State should be a seamless transition for Igbinosun.

What is most intriguing about Igbinosun is the mix of size and speed he possesses. At 6-foot-2, and around 200 pounds, Igbinosun has the size to be physical with opposing receivers, as well as the ability to get up and challenge for jump balls. While some might be concerned that Igbinosun didn’t pick off any passes last year, interceptions are something that will come over time. Even though he didn’t record any interceptions last year, he received plenty of valuable experience by starting for an SEC team.

Some may be wondering why Igbinosun decided to transfer after having a successful first year at Ole Miss. The Rebels decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Chris Partridge, which led to Igbinosun exploring his options in the transfer portal. Ohio State was a dream school for the cornerback ever since he was a kid, which made the decision easy when the Buckeyes showed interest on bringing him in as a transfer.

One cornerback position is already occupied by Denzel Burke, but the other starting spot will likely see a mixture of Igbinosun and Jordan Hancock lining up opposite Burke. Igbinosun was strong throughout spring practices, and with his experience last season at Ole Miss, it would seem likely that he would get the first crack at the open cornerback spot. Splitting time with Hancock wouldn’t be the worst thing for Igbinosun, since it would keep both corners fresher, allowing them to have an edge on the opposing receivers they are tasked with covering later in the game.

The impact of Igbinosun in Columbus could be felt for as many as three years, since that is how many more years he is eligible for after transferring to Ohio State following his freshman season at Ole Miss. Even though Igbinosun wasn’t given much attention by the Buckeyes coming out of high school, he made the school notice him with his play as a freshman, eventually earning the offer he coveted when he entered the transfer portal.

It felt like Igbinosun played with a bit of a chip on his shoulder last year since he didn’t receive scholarship offers coming out of high school from the top-tier programs around the country. Hopefully now that Igbinosun is at one of those powerhouse programs in college football, he now plays to show that last year wasn’t a fluke, and he can help the secondary return to the glory we have seen from them in the past.