It’s been no secret that Ohio State’s cornerback play wasn’t of the caliber that the program expects in 2022.
Head coach Ryan Day went on the hunt for solutions in the offseason, and that included a dive into the transfer portal. From within those depths, Day resurfaced with former Ole Miss corner Davison Igbinosun.
He’s made an instant impression.
“He’s looking fantastic,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “He gets his hands on a lot of balls. He competes. He’s got a mental toughness to him. I’m very pleased to have him here.”
Igbinosun stands out in Ohio State’s cornerback room, in the most literal sense. He’s taller than any of his teammates there, standing 6-2 with arms that dangle down close to his knees.
Despite maintaining underclassman status as a true sophomore, he holds significant collegiate experience after spending his entire freshman season as a starter for the Rebels. He broke up five passes and made 37 tackles. It’s something he credited for easing his transition to Columbus.
“I’ve felt very comfortable, to be honest with you,” Igbinosun said. “After playing my true freshman season last year, I just feel comfortable playing college football now. I’m completely comfortable.”
Even though he grew up and played football in New Jersey for Union High School, OSU was a place that Igbinosun had been dreaming of for a long time. Despite being the No. 162 player in the 247Sports composite for the class of 2022, the Buckeyes didn’t offer him during his prep recruitment.
“Ohio State was the place I wanted to be since I was a little boy,” Igbinosun said. “Out of high school, they didn’t actually come and get me. So hopping in the portal, if I’m being honest with you, I didn’t think that they would offer me.”
The standard of excellence and competition that surrounds players at Ohio State are part of what set the team apart for Igbinosun.
“Every school preaches competition, but Ohio State lives competition,” Igbinosun said. “Every single day from the weight room to the field, you’re competing in everything.”
It’s not just Igbinosun that feels competition from the program as he fights to earn a starting role, however. It’s also the other Ohio State cornerbacks who feel competition from him.
Cam Brown, who started last season, departed for the NFL and J.K. Johnson, a backup, transferred out. That still leaves multi-year starter and junior Denzel Burke — who had a down year last year while dealing with multiple injuries — along with fellow junior Jordan Hancock as favorites to win a job. But sophomore Jyaire Brown is also lurking and redshirt freshman Ryan Turner is looking to take another step this offseason, while talented freshmen Jermaine Mathews and Calvin Simpson-Hunt look to add more depth.
“He’s a great kid. He’s really good,” Hancock said of Igbinosun. “So bringing him in really boosts all of us and he pushes all of us. So I feel like that was a great change for us bringing him in.”
Regardless, Ohio State’s coaches are gearing Igbinosun up to be ready to play for them this season.
“He’s learning,” cornerbacks coach Tim Walton said. “He’s putting the time in. He’s competing. He has a passion for the game. He has a good skill set. We just keep practicing and keep applying it, man, then we’ll evaluate it at the end of the summer when we get ready to start getting ready to go.”