The next man up in Ohio State's lengthy line of elite draft prospects at the cornerback position, Shaun Wade, has chosen to opt out of the season in favor of preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft. Wade cited the uncertainty of the 2020 college season, which is facing major upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the reason for his exit from the Buckeyes.
Wade announced his decision via Twitter.
Wade, a former five-star recruit, played extensively as a redshirt freshman in 2018 but took command of a regular starting role last year. The junior has excellent size for the position (6-foot-1, 195 pounds, per school), and broke up eight passes last year while playing nickelback against slot receivers. He was to have played more outside coverage in 2020, but the Big Ten Conference postponed fall athletics last month. Ohio State OL Wyatt Davis has opted out as well.
Ohio State has produced the first cornerback selected in three of the last four drafts (Jeff Okudah in 2020, Denzel Ward in 2018, Marshon Lattimore in 2017). Okudah was selected No. 3 overall by the Detroit Lions, Ward went to the Cleveland Browns at No. 4, and Lattimore was taken by the New Orleans Saints at No. 11. Since 2014, the Buckeyes also have developed first-round cornerbacks Damon Arnette, Eli Apple, Gareon Conley and Bradley Roby.