With all of the offensive commitments scouted and analyzed, we are now moving on to the defense — the side of the ball subject to lots of criticism the past few years. However, that is changing fast as the Buckeyes seem to have found an adequate play caller in Matt Barnes. That and the youth movement the Buckeyes have committed to has led to an improved unit, finally playing young stars J.T Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer alongside Denzel Burke who was already getting significant snaps.
An infusion of defensive talent is needed once again for the 2022 recruiting class, and so far this group is shaping up to have a ton of potential future All-Americans.
Current Defensive Commitments
Cornerback — Lakota West High School, West Chester (Ohio) — 6-foot-0, 178 lbs
Next up on our list here is cornerback Jyaire Brown, one of Ohio’s own who has decided to stay in-state and represent the Ohio State Buckeyes. Jyaire is ranked in the 247Sports composite as the No. 156 nationally, the No. 19 rated cornerback, and the No. 7 ranked player in the state of Ohio for the 2022 cycle. Jyaire transferred in to Lakota West after playing for Warren Easton HS down in New Orleans, Louisiana and helping them to a runner-up appearance in the state title game in his time there after originally hailing from Ohio.
Brown is once again the type of cornerback that I love to scout and look forward to seeing on the gridiron in Columbus. The physical cornerback who is not afraid to play press-man coverage and assert themselves early in games against opposing players. He has a similar yet unique skill set compared to fellow classmate Terrance Brooks who I scouted last week.
One of the first things you can see when looking at a player like Brown is how disruptive he is. He is an absolute nuisance for opposing quarterbacks as he always seems to be around the football. If the ball is on his side of the field he will be in on the play. Whether that is providing back up and cleaning up the tackle to insure no further yards are gained, or making an athletic pass break-up, Brown will be around the football.
He has a great frame for a corner and has room to add more strength without sacrificing too much of his quickness or range. He will need to bulk up a bit more to handle some of the bigger more physical receivers he will be facing in the Big Ten. However, at 6-foot, 178 lbs., Brown still can hang tough and stick with the most physical receivers on his film. He has good discipline when playing press man coverage and does not hold on the wideout longer than the five yards allowed. When he does have a hold of them however he is very disruptive to the timing of the route and the rhythm the quarterback and receiver are trying to get into. His long arms allow him to keep the wideout at a distance and really disturb the timing of what they want to do.
Brown has the speed to be a great man coverage corner, and shows great flexibility in where they line him up in the defensive backfield. He can turn and run with the best of them off the line of scrimmage and has top-tier instincts when the ball is mid-flight. He is a bit taller than your average cornerback so its nice to have that extra length when turning and looking for the football and tryin to make contested catches or at least contest the catch so that nobody comes down with the football.
Not only is he great in man-coverage but his recovery speed when playing in deep-zone schemes or even underneath zone schemes is impressive. He has the length to jam or press the wideout off the line while also dropping back into his zone and reading the eyes of the quarterback. He has great vision and can track the quarterbacks progression as he covers his zone, which allows him to break off his assigned area and break up passes if need be. This also allows him to make decisive cuts when breaking to the ball and jump routes that lead to interceptions. He has great zone discipline and does not leave his assignments or get caught with his eyes in the backfield very often as I had stated earlier, which leads to much less big plays off play-action fakes.
In his highlight tape above you can see he also could provide some added value in the return game. The second play of the tape shows him take a punt back to the house and showcases just how athletic he is. In todays age of football when corners are asked to cover these ultra-athletic wideouts and hybrid tight ends that work almost as just supersized wide receivers, having that type of athleticism can do wonders for a defense.
For a corner that has so much finesse to his game when breaking up passes, and flowing with the football, he has an air of swagger about him that he knows he can punish ball carriers when needed. He has great form tackling skills in the run game and also seems to have been taught proper tackling technique in todays world or targeting penalties galore. The form tackles shown on film are a good foundation for becoming a great open field tackler in Columbus. With all of the Yards-After-Catch experts out there in the collegiate game, having defensive backs who can tackle in the open field is a luxury and a gift. Brown wraps up the ball carrier and doesn’t lead with his helmet, performing textbook tackles making sure the ball carrier falls backwards and does not lean forward for extra yardage.
The future of the defensive back room at Ohio State is in good hands with Brooks, Brown and the next two prospects I will be taking a look at, in Kye Stokes and Ryan Turner out of Florida. With a great recruiting class in 2021 that included Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, Andre Turrentine, Jantzen Dunn, Jakailin Johnson, and Jaylan Johnson, the defensive back room is about to have a massive infusion of more talent to work with once players like Cam Brown and Sevyn Banks move on to post-graduation opportunities in the NFL.