Word filtering out of Ohio State’s closed preseason practices was that safety Jordan Fuller was becoming a leader.

Then came the election of captains a week ago, and Fuller’s role was certified. One year after having to win a competition with Erick Smith to start, Fuller has definitely risen to become a leader on the team, complete with talking privileges.

“As a sophomore last year, and the amount of leaders we had, I’d say it really wasn’t my place to say anything,” Fuller said. “But if something goes wrong in practice now, I’ll look around and (think), ‘OK those guys are gone. It’s really me right now.’ So I just take that on my shoulders and do what I can.”

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He’ll probably have plenty to talk about during plays and in between possessions Saturday when the Buckeyes take on Oregon State at Ohio Stadium. Next to him in the secondary will be a new starter, either Isaiah Pryor or Jahsen Wint, as the competition for that spot spills over into the regular season.

“They’re both going to play,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “And if you remember last year when we started the season with Jordan and Erick, they both played and then Jordan pulled away and became the starter and became a really fine starter as we know.

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“So I don’t know if that will happen or if all season long those guys will go back and forth. But whatever happens, you can’t make it happen, you’ve got to let it happen. Now you encourage and you coach and you teach, but they have to go out there and play their way into a position.”

Fuller said his advice to them would be simple.

“I would say, ‘Do your job,’ Fuller said. “ ‘This is what you’ve been training for, so have fun with it.’ ”

tmay@dispatch.com

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