COLUMBUS, Ohio – With top cornerback Bradley Roby suspended for No. 2 Ohio State’s season opener vs. Buffalo, there will be two new starters for the Buckeyes.
Junior Doran Grant and sophomore Armani Reeves will be in the starting lineup, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said Monday.
Grant had been the presumed starter and has earned praise from multiple players and coaches for his performance in this month’s training camp. Coombs said Reeves has earned the other spot with “an incredible offseason. He’s worked hard, is incredibly focused and he still has to play. We’ll find on Aug. 31, but I’m excited to see him.”
Reeves played in six games as a freshman last year; he missed the other six with a knee injury.
Coombs said the primary backups vs. Buffalo will be the three freshmen — Gareon Conley, Eli Apple and Cam Burrows — and that there’s no pecking order as now for those three. Coombs said sophomore Tyvis Powell has earned the star position in Ohio State’s nickel defense.
“All those guys are battling their butts off and learning,” Coombs said. “They’re learning to be resilient. The guy who makes it through these practices the best is probably the guy who’s going to play the most.”
On Grant, Coombs said “he’s earned it. He worked in the spring, he worked in the summer, he’s working now. He’s ready.”
Roby will serve a one-game suspension for an early-morning incident in July outside a Bloomington, Ind. bar. He’s facing a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and Ohio State has kept him away from the media this month.
A fourth-year junior, Roby is a potential All-American and first-round NFL Draft prospect next April.
“(Roby) is a leader every day in the meeting room,” Coombs said. “He approaches the game like a professional. He practices like a pro. The other guys are learning from Roby the art of playing corner, and I appreciate that from Bradley.”