The good news keeps on coming for the Ohio State football. Just days after announcing he was declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft and would not play in a delayed college football season, Buckeye cornerback Shaun Wade has changed his mind and will rejoin his Scarlet and Gray teammates. Wade did not return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for voluntary workouts or when they became mandatory last week but is now head back, he announced on Thursday on ESPN.
Of course, Wade’s decision was affected by the Big Ten, which originally canceled fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Aug. 11. On Wednesday, the conference made a course correction, announcing teams would beginning playing an eight-game conference schedule beginning on the weekend of Oct. 24.
This decision, and the early start date, is what prompted Wade to change his mind. The redshirt junior, who made the announcement in January that he would return for the 2020 season, can now play with his Ohio State teammates in 2020, compete for a Big Ten and national championship this year and still be ready to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft in January.
Wade came to Ohio State as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 cornerback in the 2017 recruiting class behind only former Buckeye teammate Jeff Okudah. While Okudah found his way on to the field as a true freshman as a reserve and on special teams, Wade dealt with a shoulder injury that kept him out for the season and forced a redshirt year.
Over the last two seasons, Wade showed his ability and versatility for the Scarlet and Gray. As a redshirt freshman, Wade played a number of positons, including safety and nickel back. Last season, Wade operated as Ohio State’s slot corner in co-defensive coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison‘s Cover-1/Cover-3 defense.
Aside from winning a national championship in 2020, Wade also wanted to come back to and prove, on top of his other positions, that he could play the outside cornerback role and cover the opposing team’s top receiver on a regular basis. By returning for this year, Wade will be able to put that on tape and help boost his NFL Draft stock.
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Wade’s decision not only gives the Scarlet and Gray an elite outside corner but a leader at the position. Wade is the only returning player in the secondary with any substantial experience as a starter and was voted a team captain back in early August. He will be able to help mentor the likes of junior corners Sevyn Banks and Cameron Brown and allow them to come along slower than if Wade had stayed declared.