After Ohio State capped its perfect 2012 season with a 26-21 victory over the Michigan Wolverines last November, a number of Buckeyes players were forced with a decision to either return to school for another year or enter the NFL draft.
Bradley Roby was one of those players, and after a lot of thought, the soon-to-be redshirt junior decided to stay in Columbus for another go around with the Buckeyes.
That decision will not only benefit him, but also an Ohio State team that will desperately need his leadership and playmaking ability this season.
After breaking out as a redshirt freshman in 2011, Roby thrived under Meyer. The shutdown corner recorded 63 tackles (third highest on the team) to go along with two interceptions last year, but Roby made the biggest impact in coverage. Ohio State's star cornerback led the nation with 1.73 passes defended per game (according to cfbstats.com) and made multiple game-changing plays throughout the season.
His outstanding consistency landed him an All-Big Ten first-team selection in 2012, and many expected him to be drafted somewhere in the second round if he had declared for the draft.
Roby was reportedly 50-50 on the decision, but in the end, he didn't want to rush the situation.
“The NFL isn’t going anywhere, I’m not in a rush,” Roby said, according to Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer. “As long as God allows me to stay healthy, everything will still be there.”
Now, Roby will be returning to a team that lost seven starters on a defense that struggled early in the season, but surged down the stretch.
Ohio State's secondary, though, will remain mostly intact. The Buckeyes return three starters to the secondary with Roby and both safeties, C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant. Cornerback Travis Howard is the only departure, but Doran Grant is showing a lot of promise through spring practice so far.
The Buckeyes also have two very talented true freshman cornerbacks on campus this spring in Cameron Burrows and Eli Apple. Tony Gerdeman of TheOzone.net reports that Roby is looking to teach some of the younger guys, which will only help bring Burrows and Apple along.
Roby said that he is doing a lot of teaching and leading this spring. That's one of his main focuses, getting the other guys ready for the season.
If Roby can not only elevate his play, but the all-around play of Ohio State's secondary in 2013, the Buckeyes could be in for a very special season.
For Roby, that's his mission going into the season.
“I feel like I’m getting ready for the best year I’ve ever had,” Roby said. “I feel like this year is going to be amazing. You are going to see a lot more plays from me and from my team.”
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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