Talented junior CB had starter-like number of plays in 2016 alongside two first-round draft picks
Lewis, McMillan, Hooker, Lattimore and Johnston garner first-team honors
The Buckeyes welcome the Cornhuskers to Ohio Stadium for a Top-10 Showdown.
Overview: Denzel Ward is by many attributes – game experience, intelligence, skill, athletic ability – the next Ohio State cornerback with high NFL Draft pick potential … “he’s a gifted player,” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said this spring … the true junior has played in 25 consecutive games for the Buckeyes going back to the second game of his true freshman season in 2015 and he’s also been timed as the fastest Buckeye … he enters the season a leader of the unit and with 30 career tackles and nine passes defended … he is majoring in sport industry.
Notable: Ward has not started a game yet for the Buckeyes, but he has enough starter-like stats that he could be considered the Buckeyes third starter at cornerback last season: he lined up on defense for 468 plays in 2016 as part of a three-man cornerback rotation that also featured two, 2017 first-round NFL Draft picks: Marshon Lattimore (No. 11 to New Orleans) and Gareon Conley (No. 24 to Oakland).
Honors & Awards
2016: Honorable mention All-Big Ten (media)
2016 Season: (Sophomore): Ward was part of a cornerback rotation that featured two first-round draft picks at the end of the season … he played in all 13 games and tied for the team lead with Marshon Lattimore with nine pass break-ups … was also in on 23 tackles … he had prolific numbers of plays on defense in Ohio State’s biggest games: 56 vs. Oklahoma, 50 vs. Penn State, 38 vs. Michigan and 62 vs. Clemson.
2015 Season: (Freshman): Ward was one of only four scholarship freshman to get playing time for the Buckeyes this season …he was a key special teams performer who played in 12 games … he totaled 196 plays on the season with 175 of those on special teams … he was clocked running 21.8 miles per hour on special teams coverage in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame … he was one of the top tacklers on special teams with seven total stops.
More on Denzel: Ward helped lead Nordonia to a 14-1 record and the Division II state championship game in 2014 by starring on defense with nine interceptions and 18 pass break-ups and on offense with more than 1,300 total yards and 20 touchdowns … named the Division II co-defensive player of the year and a first-team Associated Press all-state selection for coach Jeff Fox … also named Cleveland.com’s defensive player of the year … totaled 14 interceptions in 2013 and 2014 combined plus had 93 receptions and 31 receiving touchdowns … rated a 4-star prospect by Scout and 247Sports and was ranked respectively by those organizations as the Nos. 22 and 26 cornerback prospect … rated as high as No. 171 among all players by Scout … a PrepStar all-Midwest Region …caught 37 passes for 658 yards and nine touchdowns for 8-3 team as a junior … possesses tremendous speed – including published reports of a hand-timed 4.31 40 – and is a multiple state qualifier in track and field as part of Nordonia’s 4x400-meter relay and as a long jumper … is the son of Nicole and the late Paul Ward.
WARD'S DEFENSIVE STATS
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