COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State cornerbacks room has no shortage of talent. And now that redshirt freshman Shaun Wade is healthy for the first time in his college career, that position group looks even better.
In addition to former 3-star recruit Damon Arnette, Ohio State returns Kendall Sheffield — a 5-star prospect when he signed with Alabama — and Jeffrey Okudah, a 5-star in the Class of 2017, from last season’s rotation. Tyreke Johnson, a 5-star recruit from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, signed in the Class of 2018 and is already enrolled and going through spring practice.
Wade’s return from an abdomen injury gives the Buckeyes yet another 5-star cornerback fighting for playing time.
Wade was the No. 2 cornerback (Okudah was No. 1) and No. 17 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to the 247Sports composite. In his second spring in Columbus — Wade was an early enrollee — he’s been showing new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson that he’s capable of living up to expectations.
“Shaun has done a really good job,” Johnson said. “He’s healthy now. He’s progressed every practice that we’ve had. He’s made some plays. He’s a smart individual. He studies the game. And I think every practice, he’s taking a step more and more.
“And I know he’s coming back from an injury and things like that, but he doesn’t allow that to be a crutch whatsoever. He’s coachable, and I think that’s what’s helped him big-time.”
Wade’s fellow cornerbacks also are impressed with the way he’s been able to bounce back from the season-ending injury that kept him off the field last season.
“Shaun Wade, that’s my guy,” Okudah said. “I was feeling for him just knowing he had to deal with that abdomen injury during the season. During the summer we talked a lot about just going out there and making a big impact, so when he went down it hurt me that he couldn’t play. Now that he’s back, he’s kind of lifted up the spirits of the whole cornerback room knowing that we have all the guys back. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do this fall.”