Bradley Roby Not Looking at the NFL Just Yet
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby is one of 15 semifinalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the nation's best defensive back.
The Thorpe Award is just one of the many accolades Roby is currently in consideration for. He is also expected to find his name on numerous All-American and All-Conference lists at the end of the season.
Bradley Roby breaks up a pass against Penn State
Photo by Jim Davidson
He currently leads the nation with 18 passes defended, and that's even with him missing a game due to injury this season. He is third on the team with 48 tackles, and is just as effective against the run as he is the pass.
He has been outstanding all year long, and unfortunately for the OSU coaches, the NFL has taken notice of Roby's play. Being three years removed from high school, Roby is eligible for the NFL draft this and he is going to have a difficult decision to make in the very near future.
Back in the spring, OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said that he saw first-round draft potential in Roby, and now NFL teams are seeing that same potential. However, Roby isn't ready to think about his future beyond these next two weeks.
"I'm not really thinking about it too much," he said on Wednesday.
"I don't want to say anything that's going to cause speculation. I'm just taking it one day at a time, one game at a time. I'm just trying to get this win."
But that doesn't mean he and Coombs haven't talked about the possibility of entering the draft, though they haven't gone too deep into those talks.
"We've had surface conversations," Coombs said.
"I don't think he's ready for that yet. I think his best days are ahead of him. I think he's going to be a great player. I think he needs more time, more seasoning."
Seasoning would obviously help any prospect, but a general rule of thumb is that if an underclassman gets a first round grade, then they seriously need to consider entering the draft.
But there is also the incentive of bettering that draft stock by returning and improving with another year of coaching.
"I think even just to look at the progress he's made from March til November, but even September to November, gives you an indication of how good he can be," said Coombs.
Amazingly, none of this has come as a surprise to Roby, who came to Ohio State with a detailed plan of how his career was going to go. He planned to redshirt as a freshman and then start as a redshirt freshman, which he did.
Now what the rest of that plan holds, he's not saying. But so far, everything has gone according to script for him personally.
Photo by Dan Harker
"It just shows me that I'm on the right path following my plan," he said.
"This is all part of the plan that I came to Ohio State with. Just the fact that there is discussion is good for me, just to know that I'm doing things that I'm supposed to be doing."
So far in Roby's two seasons on the field he has been a part of a 6-7 team and a team that had no postseason eligibility. Does his plan have room for an Ohio State national championship in it? Is that something that would keep him around for another year?
"Next year would definitely be a good incentive, a good reason to come back,” he said said.
“Who wouldn't want to play for a national championship? That's definitely a good goal for our team, and maybe next year we can get there."
The question, of course, is whether Roby will be around to see it. For now, however, his focus is on Wisconsin and then Michigan, which should be plenty for the time being.
Coombs, on the other hand, has given it some thought, though his words might be as much hopeful as they are insightful.
"I think he still has things that he wants to accomplish," he said.
"And I don't think the least of those things is being part of a team that has a chance to play for a national championship. So I would expect Bradley to be here and to be around, and I'm looking forward to coaching him another year."
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