December 5, 2012

Roby will decide to stay or go pro

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- To say that Bradley Roby is comfortable while talking to the media would be an understatement.

The Ohio State cornerback speaks smoothly and smartly, with a candidness that's a reporter's dream. He was the first Buckeye to publicly state that the team's goal was to win an Associated Press national title in 2012. He disclosed that he didn't play in OSU's win over UAB on Sept. 22 because his coaches wanted to be healthy for tougher opponents. He even ends his own interview sessions by letting media members know when their time with him is up.

So when Roby stated less than a month ago that he's spent time thinking about his future beyond the Buckeyes' 2012 campaign, it really didn't come as a surprise.

Roby is listed as a sophomore, but since he redshirted as a freshman in 2010, he is eligible to enter the 2013 NFL Draft in April. The All-Big Ten cornerback admitted two weeks ago that he's had conversations with his position coach, Kerry Coombs about his future beyond this season, but that his main priority at the time was finishing OSU's undefeated season.

"That's not really on my mind, that's something at the end, there's a lot that goes into that," Roby said. "I don't really want to say anything that's going to cause speculation. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

But with the Buckeyes' perfect season in the books, the country's leader in pass breakups with 19 now has a decision to make: head to the NFL, where the leagues premium on passing could lead to him being selected in the first two rounds of the draft, or return to Ohio State for his junior season and try to win a national title?

The media-savvy Roby offered a "no comment" when asked whether or not he had already came to a decision regarding the draft, but Coombs wasn't afraid to offer his opinion about what his top player should do.

"I don't think he's ready for that yet," Coombs said. "I think his best days are ahead of him. I think he's going to be a great player. I think he needs more time, more seasoning."

It's hard to project where Roby would land in the upcoming draft, but given that the former high school wide receiver has only been playing the cornerback position for three seasons now, it's difficult to imagine a return to OSU doing anything but improving his stock. Having witnessed the growth that the Suwanee, Ga. has made first hand, Coombs believes that Roby is far from having reached his potential.

"Even just to look at the progress he's made, certainly, from March until November, but even from September to November gives you an indication of how good he can be," Coombs said. "I still think he has things he wants to accomplish, and I don't think the least of those things is being a part of a team that has a chance to play for a national championship."

After enduring a 6-7 record in his first year as a starter in 2011, and a perfect season with a postseason ban in place in 2012, next season would give Roby his first real shot at winning a national championship in college, and the Buckeyes are all but locks to enter the year as a top-5 team. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound corner admitted that may be enough to bring him back to Columbus for at least one more season.

"A national championship next year would definitely be a good incentive, a good reason to come back," Roby said. "Who wouldn't want to play for a national championship? That's definitely a good goal for our team, and maybe next year we can get there."

Roby has until mid-January to make up his mind about whether to enter the draft or return to school, but the one person that we know he's talked to about that decision has a gut feeling regarding just what the outcome will be.

"I would expect Bradley to be here and be around," Coombs said. "I'm looking forward to coaching him another year."


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