Bradley Roby has, without a doubt, made a name for himself throughout Buckeye Nation and after last week’s performance against Nebraska, his name will live on among the great cornerback performances from Ohio State.
Typically when someone has as much talent as Roby, they had an impressive high school career as well. Roby earned all-Georgia honors in high school; he had 42 tackles, six interceptions and 29 receptions for 526 yards during his senior year. He scored 11 touchdowns (both on offense and defense), was the Team Captain, and won Gwinnett TD Club Defensive Player of the Year, Atlanta TD Club Iron Man award and won all-region and all-Gwinnett County as well. In addition to football, Roby also excelled in basketball and track and was a four-time scholar athlete.
Roby has talent and football smarts, which can be a deadly combination for his opponents. He was red-shirted his freshmen year and finally got playing time in 2011. Roby exploded onto the field during his first season, a season when the Buckeyes needed him most; he played in all 13 games and posted impressive numbers.
Roby was in on 47 tackles last year, 37 of those were solo tackles; he also tied for the team lead with three interceptions (tying Orhian Johnson). Perhaps most impressive about Roby is what he can do with the ball after he makes the interception. Roby had 57 interception return yards during 2011, including a 36-yard return against Illinois that kick-started some Buckeye momentum for a win.
Roby tied for ninth in the Big Ten Conference with nine passes defended during the 2011 season, three interceptions and six pass break-ups; he was also tied for eighth in interceptions. During his first game for Ohio State (against Akron), he set his eventual season high with six solo tackles; then matched that solo total against Purdue and Florida that year as well. It’s no wonder that coaches honored him with the 1st Year Defensive Player Award.
It’s safe to say that 2011 was a break-out year for Roby, but what he has done thus-far in 2012 is simply incredible. Even if we just take a look at what he accomplished PRIOR to the Nebraska game, it’s still noteworthy. He had 28 total tackles, of which 18 were solo, and he recorded his first sack of the year which accompanied an 11-yard loss; he has also thrown himself in front of a punt and scored a touchdown after recovering a fumble.
Ohio State vs. Nebraska was a big game, there’s no way around it; it was the first night game of the season, Buckeyes everywhere were looking for revenge from last year, and to top it off, it was the Homecoming game. When the offense failed to do much in the first minutes of the game, the defense, and more specifically Bradley Roby, took matters into his own hands.
The Buckeye’s defense lined up on Nebraska’s 31 yard line, Taylor Martinez threw the ball and was immediately intercepted by Roby. He continued to dodge and weave, and ran 41 yards into the end-zone for the Buckeyes first touchdown of the game, and Roby’s first pick-6 of the season. Not only was this his first pick-6 of the season, it was his first interception, something that weighed heavily on the young star.
I needed a pick this week. I didn’t have one all year. I knew it was a big deal for my team.
I dreamed about that. I saw it. My dad texted me and was like, ‘I had a dream you had a pick six today.’ I was like, ‘Damn, I’m going to get it. I had the same dream.’ When stuff like that happens, it’s crazy. I just wanted to make plays for my team.
Roby isn’t the type of guy to get one big play and be done for the day; with a little over 9 minutes til half-time, Martinez tried another pass play that resulted in yet ANOTHER interception by Roby. This one didn’t result in a touchdown, but it gave life and energy into the fans, the Horseshoe and the rest of the team. When everyone gets that excited and pumped up, there is a new level of expectation on the field, and this interception was the kick in the butt the offense needed to start scoring; which they did, repeatedly, nearly every time they got the ball.
“He does it all the time in practice,” Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller said. “He finally brought it to the field. After plays like that, you have to score. He brings a whole lot of excitement to the team.”
In only 5 games this season, he is already beating or on track to beat last season’s stats. Roby is a cornerback that other teams fear, and Buckeye fans love; he plays with passion and skill which is a super exciting combination to watch.
He has plenty of time left wearing scarlet and gray to become one of the best cornerbacks in college football, and he can definitely help Ohio State remain a force on both sides of the ball.