Already in the spotlight during the Buckeyes’ 2016 campaign, Denzel Ward is expected to step into an even bigger role as Ohio State’s No. 1 cornerback on the roster. Ward has proven to be a key piece of one of the best secondaries in the nation. With fellow defensive backs Conley and Lattimore leaving for the draft, he’ll be trusted to lead a younger, reloaded defense. It’s most certainly in good hands.
Denzel took some time to talk about his background in football, and his expectations for both himself and this vaunted defense in 2017.
When did you first fall in love with playing football?
I first fell in love with playing football when I was 6 or 7 years old playing football with my brother and cousins all the time in our backyard.
What’s the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
The most inspirational and powerful thing a coach has ever said to me was that I would never play division 1 football.
What has been your most memorable game so far at Ohio State, and why?
My most memorable game so far at Ohio stage was the Oklahoma game because there was already a lot of hype going into the game. And my father had recently passed away and the Oklahoma game was the day of his birthday and it was a very emotional game for me and I felt I played very well that game and made some pretty big plays to help the team like the hit I got on their tight end. And for us to win that game how we did I felt was a blessing.
Last year, the Buckeyes ran a rotation at cornerback between you, Conley, and Lattimore – and it resulted in the Buckeyes having one of the strongest secondaries in the nation. Can you talk about your relationship with Gareon and Marshon?
My relationship with Gareon and Marshon is incredible! Those are two of my best friends and the relationship we built over the time I’ve been at Ohio state has been great. And I would do anything for Gareon and Marshon.
You’re expected the be the undisputed No. 1 cornerback in 2017. What are some expectations you have for yourself, and for this defense as a whole?
Some expectations I have for myself is help lead the young corners that just arrived and the team to where we want to go.
Who in the NFL do you see as a role model, and why?
In the NFL I see Eli Apple as my role model because when I first arrived to Ohio state Eli was my big brother and he helped me tremendously with my game and learning how to to watch film and be a leader and even though he is in the NFL we still communicate on a daily basis on what I need to work on and get better at.
And to close, what’s the most important thing about you off the field that makes you a better player on the field?
The most important thing about me off the field that I feel makes me a better player on the field is the time I spend watching film and learning my opponent.