Halfway through the regular season, the BSB staff is each looking at two players — one on the offensive side and one on the defense — as difference makers that have helped lead the team to its dominant 6-0 start.
Jordan Fuller may not be the most hyped member of the Ohio State defense, but he may be one of the most important.
The safety often represents the last line of defense. This makes it imperative the defensive back assigned to this position is an elite tackler — Fuller is just that.
A three-year starter, Fuller, leads the team in solo tackles for the third consecutive season through six games with 23, which is seven more than second-place Malik Harrison.
While other players on the Ohio State defense may be flashier like Chase Young or Jeff Okudah, Fuller is the most sound tackler on the team. Whether it is a run or a pass, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Through just six games, Fuller has already tied his season high of two interceptions, picking off two of the best quarterbacks the Buckeyes have faced in Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez and Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke.
Fuller’s first interception came with the game still within reach at Nebraska. The Buckeyes had just taken a 17-0 lead and kicked off to the Cornhuskers, who began their drive at their 25-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Martinez dropped back on second-and-10, when Fuller made a heads-up play to pick him off at midfield.
The Scarlet and Gray capitalized off Fuller’s big play, scoring a touchdown in just three plays to push their lead to 24-0 and put Nebraska in a deeper hole.
A week later at home against Michigan State, Fuller made his top play of the midway point of the regular season, which is highlighted under The Standout Play So Far at the bottom.
Selfless in nature, Fuller also lines up at right tackle on Ohio State’s punt team. He races down the field, helping force the opposing return man to call for a fair catch, or making a play after the returner catches it.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has been very impressed by the two-time captain, both on and off the field.
“He does everything the way you’d want your son to do it,” Day said of Fuller. “If you had a daughter, you’d want her to marry him. That’s the kind of kid he is. He does everything right.
“He’s Academic All-American. He’s a tremendous football player. He’s playing at a high level right now. He’s got really good leadership. He does things off the field. He’s very, very respectful. He’s a team captain. It’s like, how many things can you do right, and that’s Jordan, and we’re really blessed to have him.”
The Standout Play So Far
With a commanding 34-10 lead, the Ohio State defense lined up to stop Michigan State’s comeback effort.
On first-and-10 at the Ohio State 34-yard line, Brian Lewerke dropped back to pass with 6:27 left in the game. Lewerke’s pass was tipped by Buckeye junior linebacker Baron Browning, where it deflected to the secondary and Fuller snagged it.
The athletic safety had a flashback to his two-way stardom at Old Tappan in New Jersey, looking like an adept return man/playmaker. Fuller eluded defenders and broke tackles on his way to an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown, until a flag for an illegal blindside block by Browning brought the ball back to the OSU 25.
Jordan Fuller interception, though the touchdown is called back on a block in the back pic.twitter.com/wRen7SalW9
— Buckeye Sports Bulletin (@Buckeye_Sports) October 6, 2019
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