In this series of profiles, we are taking a look at some of the under the radar Buckeye players who play a vital role in a championship run. Everyone knows the importance of players like Pryor, Saine, Posey, Brewster, Boren, Heyward, Homan, and Rolle. This series is not about those big names players, rather the indispensable guys that get looked over. Check out #9 Devon Torrence...
Why he is important:
Torrence is an important piece to puzzle for multiple reasons. First, playing cornerback in college football these days makes you an automatic asset. With the emergence of the spread, if you aren't deep at corner, you're dead. Lucky for the Buckeyes, they return Torrence along with fellow senior Chimdi Chekwa. Together they should help anchor the defensive secondary in 2010. The Buckeyes will need strong corner play with the departures of Coleman and Russell at safety, and the experience the departed with them.
Secondly, Torrence has a vital role on this team because of his raw athleticism. Those skills helped him win out the starting job early in the season in 2009, and led him to 35 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one sack. It was fun to watch Torrence as the year unfolded, because his understanding of the game continued to progress, which combined with his athleticism made a lethal combination. Maybe the best example of the strides he made was in the Michigan game, when he intercepted a pass in the endzone to seal the victory.
Finally, Torrence could find a role in the special teams as well. He was one of handful of guys returning kicks and punts this spring, and has made it very clear that he wants to be used in multiple capacities in 2010.
All praise aside, Torrence didn't have the spring many would have hoped for. Much like Buchanan in the last profile, this spring had many up and down moments for Torrence. Now, the secondary was very discombobulated thanks to nagging injuries to Chekwa and Howard (two of the three top corners), but Torrence didn't really step up in their absence. Very little was said about his play during spring practices, and some experts were actually disappointed with his showing in one-on-one drills. Some of this can be attributed to the breakout spring for Donnie Evege, who showcased his skills in Chekwa's absence.
As for the spring game, it was an afternoon Torrence would like to forget. Brandon Castel of TheOzone.net said of his performance:
"It was just one of those days for Devon Torrence Saturday. A returning starter at corner for the Buckeyes in 2010, Torrence struggled mightily with his one-on-one coverage skills in the spring game. He interfered with DeVier Posey on the Gray’s first drive on a play that Posey should have made for a touchdown. Two plays later, Torrence gave up the touchdown anyways to Taurian Washington on 28-yard pass from Guiton. Later in the first half he was juked out of his cleats by tailback Brandon Saine and it was Torrence in coverage again on T-Wash’s game-winning touchdown score."
Chris from 11W wrote this about Torrence's struggles in the game:
"Though the divided roster certainly hurts cohesion in the secondary, I was still a little surprised at the consistently wide open receivers roaming around, and even more noticeable was the amount of receivers who got behind coverage.
"Leading up to ‘09, I watched Torrence outplay Andre Amos at the various practices/scrimmages we attended but he wasn’t awarded the starting spot until early in the season. Torrence went on to have a solid if not spectacular campaign showing not only coverage ability but also an effective desire to play the run.
"I have no doubt he’ll be fine, but Saturday was rough. He was beat significantly no less than four times including T-Wash’s first TD, Posey’s drop early (PI called), and on a fade route that fell incomplete after Torrence stepped inside at the line with the WR racing outside. Again, I don’t want to make too much of it, Torrence is a solid boundary corner, but I wonder if he’s spending less time on his cover skills this spring as the coaches try out different guys on the return team?"
Looking ahead to 2010:
Much like Chris, I'm not going to freak out about some of Torrence's spring struggles. He proved he is valuable asset down the stretch in '09 against Ohio State's toughest opponents. I think when fall comes and he settles into his role once again with Chekwa across the way, things will be fine. Actually I still expect a huge season from Torrence. Not only should his interceptions and pass defense plays increase, but look for him to be used more in pressuring the quarterback. Torrence has solid athleticism and tons of potential to be great, and I look forward to big senior season from him.
10) Ben Buchanan
9) Devon Torrence