COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jeff Okudah, the first Ohio State cornerback to earn unanimous All-America honors, announced on New Year’s Day that he would be foregoing his senior season at Ohio State in 2020 to make himself available for the NFL Draft. He will be remembered as one of the great cornerbacks for a school rich in cornerback/defensive back history.
Okudah earned first-team All-America recognition this season by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp, American Football Coaches Association and The Sporting News.
He is one of only four Ohio State defensive backs to be awarded unanimous All-America status, after Jack Tatum in 1970, Michael Doss in 2002 and Malik Hooker in 2016. Doss and Hooker each played safety. Tatum, it has been learned, played more of a linebacker/safety position – perhaps he was the original “bullet” – giving Okudah the unique honor of being the only unanimous All-American at cornerback for a program that has produced All-Americans such as Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Malcolm Jenkins, Bradley Roby and Ward.
|Jeff Okudah Career Stats|
While Ohio State has produced four first-round NFL Draft cornerbacks in the past four years with Okudah expected to make that five-in-five in April, the school has seen just one of those players – Denzel Ward in 2017 – earn first-team All-America honors. Prior to Ward, the last cornerback named first-team All-American was Roby in 2012.
Okudah is now one of Ohio State’s 32 Big Ten-leading total of unanimous All-Americans. He and Chase Young give Ohio State a total of 87 consensus All-Americans to rank second nationally among all FBS schools (Notre Dame, 102).
This season, Okudah was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s outstanding defensive back, and started every game for the 13-1 Buckeyes, who extended a run of outright Big Ten Conference championships to a league record three consecutive years. He intercepted the first three passes of his career – vs. Miami and two vs. Nebraska – and had nine pass break-ups and two forced fumbles to go along with 35 tackles (29 solo).
He was a huge part of a defense that was No. 2 nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (156.0 per game), No. 2 in pass efficiency defense (97.50) and No. 1 in total defense, allowing just 259.7 yards per game.
Okudah caps his career having played in 41 games with 15 starts. His career statistics include 88 tackles (68 solo) and a total of 21 passes defended (18 break-ups and three interceptions).
From Grand Prairie, Texas and South Grand Prairie High School, Okudah was majoring in communications and had earned OSU Scholar-Athlete status.