Jashon Cornell hasn’t had the Ohio State career expected of him when he signed as a four-star defensive end in 2015.
Partly because of injuries, Cornell got lost in the shuffle on a deep defensive line for most of his career. The fourth-year junior had a hernia issue his sophomore year and also has dealt with ankle injuries. He was shifted inside to tackle and then moved back to end this season.
With the line hit by injuries heading into Saturday’s game against Minnesota, the Buckeyes are hoping Cornell can make a late-career surge. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he recently met with Cornell and delivered just that message.
“There have been extraordinary stories around here of guys who have finished very strong — the Stevie Millers and Reid Fragels of the world you’ve never heard of and then come on like, bang,” Meyer said.
It’s not as if Cornell has been invisible; he has been part of the rotation all season. Against Penn State, he helped disrupt the fourth-down play in which Chase Young made the victory-clinching tackle.
But with Nick Bosa out and fellow end Jonathon Cooper’s status in question because of a concussion last week, Cornell is needed now more than ever. That the Buckeyes are playing the St. Paul native’s home-state school adds extra incentive.
“Yeah, it does,” he said. “I haven’t been home in a while, and I know a lot of players on the team. It’ll be nice playing against them.”
Cornell didn’t disagree with Meyer’s assessment of his career.
“I feel it has had a lot of bumps in the road, fighting injuries,” he said. “But I feel myself getting healthier and performing at a better level.”
Cornell already has graduated with a degree in family resource management. He wants to be a financial adviser to athletes.
“A very intelligent guy, a great person,” Meyer said. “(But) we need a little bit more out of him. He’s a guy who has talent. With some banged-up players, we need him to really be the player we all want him to be and he wants to be. I see it coming, and right now is the time.”
On second thought
Last week against Indiana, Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for 455 yards, three shy of Art Schlichter’s school record set in 1981. Meyer said he was unaware during the game that Haskins was approaching the record.
After Haskins completed two passes on the game’s final drive, he took a knee on the final two snaps. Meyer said that if someone had informed him how close Haskins was to the record, he would have been tempted to let him try for it.
“You never want to disrespect your opponent, but these guys work so hard and I might have,” Meyer said Thursday on his radio show.