Bradley Roby might have been one of the last recruits to commit to Ohio State, but don’t expect him to be overlooked again anytime soon.
The three-star athlete was ranked as the 43rd best cornerback prospect by Scouts.com and originally committed to Vanderbilt in July of 2009. But after an impressive senior season, scouts began to take notice of the wide receiver/cornerback prospect from Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Ga.
“He originally committed to Vanderbilt as a diamond in the rough and then blew up at the end of the year,” said Jared Kamrass, a contributor to Scout.com.
Roby piled up impressive statistics in his senior season at Peachtree Ridge as he played on both sides of the ball. On offense, Roby caught 29 passes for 536 yards and recorded 42 tackles and six interceptions on defense. The 6-foot tall prospect has also been timed at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash.
“He could play as a wide receiver at Ohio State, but I like him better as a cornerback,” said Bill Greene, the Ohio recruiting analyst at Scout.com. “He’s that type of long, quick athlete.”
Kevin Noon, managing editor for BuckeyeGrove.com, agrees that Roby will eventually play cornerback.
“I definitely think he will be a defensive back out of need,” Noon said. “He has good hips and he should be able to really acquaint very well to that position. There is more of a need for him in the defensive backfield just because there is a lot of wide receivers that they have especially around his size.”
Most scouts agree that Roby is athletically gifted to play at the next level, but all of them conclude that he is more than just a football player.
“There is no doubt he fits athletically at Ohio State,” Greene said. “What I like about him the best is that he is such a quality kid. He is very special in terms of his work ethic and his integrity.”
Roby had a 3.86 grade point average in high school, was a member of the DECA club, and was a four-time scholar athlete.
The scouting process didn’t go quite as planned for Roby. He originally wanted to go to Ohio State, but didn’t receive any offers. The Buckeyes originally decided to go on a different path.
“Ohio State didn’t offer him until late,” Greene said. They chased Lamarcus Joyner out of Florida and Josh Shaw out of California.”
After both prospects chose other colleges, the Buckeyes decided to offer Roby a scholarship. This would have been ideal for Roby, but he had already verbally committed to Vanderbilt, placing him in a difficult situation.
It is quite common for a high school prospect to initially commit to a smaller school but then rapidly switch commitments if a football powerhouse such as Ohio State comes calling, Greene said.
“Roby wanted to be at Ohio State, but he felt that he had given his word to Vanderbilt. He really struggled with that.”
Roby told Greene in an interview after he signed with Ohio State that it “hurt him to do that to the Vanderbilt staff.”
The cornerback prospect wouldn’t even talk to any reporters about his commitment to OSU until he had a chance to speak to the position coach and head coach at Vanderbilt.
Ohio State recruiting experts believe that Roby will surely spend his first year on the sidelines for the Buckeyes.
“He’ll probably redshirt as a freshman to get some weight on, get the whole college experience and coaching under his belt,” Kamrass said.
Kamrass has very lofty expectations for Roby. He compared him to a recent Super Bowl-winning cornerback who wore scarlet and gray.
“The best analogy for him right now is Malcolm Jenkins, who was another guy that was unheralded coming in,” Kamrass said. “But Jenkins was able to put on some weight, learned from some good coaching and obviously became an All-American and a first round draft pick.”
Roby could be a difference-maker to take the field for the Buckeyes for years to come. Greene has one simple conclusion to define why the new Buckeye prospect will shine throughout his career at OSU.
“I think he is just such a quality individual, and that’s usually the difference when people succeed or fail at the college level,” Greene said. “Someone who gets it from a work ethic standpoint and an intelligent standpoint. That is where Bradley Roby will set himself apart from other players.”