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Jordan Hancock ready for breakout season following injury-plagued 2022

After being sidelined by a hamstring injury, Hancock is ready to show what he can do at full strength

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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.

What is expected to be a breakout season for Jordan Hancock has arrived a year later than Ohio State initially anticipated. With the wait came lessons Hancock believes will be an asset on the field this season.

The third-year defensive back has fully recovered from the hamstring injury that plagued him throughout the 2022 season, with Hancock eliminating any doubts about his return to top form throughout spring football.

Now, he is poised to add an element of explosiveness to Jim Knowles’ defense, and with his improved game at cornerback, he could be the key to unlocking the defense’s full potential.

When Hancock lost his ability to explode because of his injury last season, the defensive impact was palpable. Unable to fully display his talents, he seemed to lag a step behind his teammates or the unfolding play even when he did see field time in 2022.

He says he’s learned how to care for his body and has matured on and off the field. These lessons have the potential to not only boost his physical game but have also allowed him time to observe and mentally prepare — an invaluable gift, given the complexities of Knowles’ defense.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 16 Ohio State Spring Game Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With an extra year of learning the schemes and nuances of the plays—and the “why” behind them—Hancock opens up the possibilities for the Buckeyes defensively.

While OSU is stacked at cornerback, Hancock (alongside starting corner Denzel Burke) could be a dynamic duo for the Buckeyes, allowing Knowles to unleash blitz packages and defensive schemes OSU hasn’t yet been able to maximize.

And ultimately, Hancock’s playmaking abilities could be a defining difference-maker in the defensive schema this season. It’s hard (and often fruitless) to pin hopes and dreams on one player, but one guy with Hancock’s talent could be the difference between a really good defense and a great one.

Hancock has the intangibles. He says all the right things and he executes them on the field. In fact, the Buckeyes bringing in Ole Miss transfer Davison Igbinosun didn’t distress Hancock—it fueled him. He wasn’t threatened by adding more talented players to the roster. In fact, he is exhilarated by the idea of the Buckeyes being the best, and he believes Igbinosun, who has experience in the SEC, can help OSU accomplish this.

Driven by the competition and a desire to be better (or better yet, the best), Hancock is ready to emerge as a household name, despite playing only 11 games in his first two years with the team (seven on defense).

And so, keep your eye on Jordan Hancock. He is poised to emerge as a playmaker, rising to the occasion.