Ohio State football: Where does Wayne Davis fit best on Buckeyes defense?
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Wayne Davis looked incredibly enormous in a recent photo. Given the depth issue at linebacker, could we see a position change to OLB?
— Brock (@Brockdoctor) April 2, 2018
Wayne Davis made the most of his latest round of winter conditioning workouts, and the Ohio State sophomore clearly has the tools to contribute for the Silver Bullets. But that role is going to be at safety, primarily because that’s where there’s a more pressing need on the depth chart. Plus, it’s the position that best suits his physical skills.
The Buckeyes actually are in much better shape than they seem to get credit for at linebacker, even after losing Tuf Borland to an Achilles injury that will keep him on the shelf until at least September. Borland was expected to stabilize the unit in the middle and potentially allow Justin Hilliard or Baron Browning to slide outside. But the competition on the perimeter wasn’t going to be a cakewalk, either, with Keandre Jones and Malik Harrison leading the race for starting jobs. Early enrollee Dallas Gant has been making waves in spring ball and Teradja Mitchell will be on campus soon to join that mix.
With Hilliard and Browning able to possibly play any of the three positions at linebacker, and the group as a whole boasting no shortage of athleticism and flexibility, there’s a good reason why Urban Meyer has been talking about his linebackers possibly standing out as one of the strengths of the team.
That’s not quite the case at safety, although the Buckeyes have a head start thanks to the return of Jordan Fuller. After breaking out as a sophomore last season, Fuller appears to be on the brink of stardom in the secondary, which allows new position coach Alex Grinch to focus on finding the right fit to pair alongside him.
The most likely candidate coming into spring was Isaiah Pryor, and nothing that has happened heading into the final handful of practices has changed that for Ohio State. But Davis is another viable option, with the former 4-star cornerback showing up for camp with 195 pounds on his 6-foot frame. That kind of size still allows him to fly around in coverage and patrol the secondary, while also featuring the power needed to help stop the run when needed.
There is room for growth and development for Davis, and he’s got another key summer full of workouts ahead of him. But he’s seemingly found a home at safety, and that’s the spot where he’s got the best chance to contribute for the Buckeyes.
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