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College grad, award-winner and Ohio State's top corner in 2020: What you need to know about Shaun Wade

Joe Harrington
Buckeye Xtra

Ohio State star cornerback Shaun Wade returned to Columbus for his senior season this year and it paid off as Ohio State won the Big Ten and reached the College Football Playoff. 

On Jan. 11, Wade will be one of the key defenders as Ohio State plays No.1 Alabama, who is led by 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991. 

Wade's senior year has yielded a treasure trove of awards. He was named a consensus All-American, first team All-Big Ten and the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of Year as the conference's best DB.

Ohio State's pass defense has been much-talked about this season, but while group has taken its lumps, Wade has performed at a high level. He has 30 tackles with two interceptions and three pass breakups. 

Here are three things to know about Shaun Wade. 

Shaun Wade opted out and then opted back in when the Big Ten reversed course

One of the top NFL prospects for Ohio State, Wade opted out of the season in September after the Big Ten canceled the season. But by the end of the same week, Wade decided to play this season when the Big Ten decided to play this season. 

Ohio State football:Cornerback Shaun Wade decides to stay at Ohio State, puts NFL on hold

It was the second time during the offseason that Wade explored leaving early as he considered entering the 2020 NFL Draft following his redshirt sophomore season. He played in 13 games and recorded 26 tackles while also registering four tackles for a loss and an interception. 

Wade was motivated to return after the 2020 Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson

One of the biggest plays, and one of the most controversial calls in Ohio State football history, Wade was flagged for targeting in the 2020 Fiesta Bowl against Clemson during the College Football Playoff semifinal game. 

Ohio State was leading 16-0 when Wade was flagged for targeting on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Wade was ejected from the game and Ohio State lost hours later. 

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” Wade told the Columbus Dispatch recently. “I know we should have won that game.”

Ohio State beat Clemson a year later in the 2021 Allstate Sugar Bowl. 

Shaun Wade graduated in August 

Wade was one of 27 Ohio State athletes to graduate in August, The former five-star recruit from Jacksonville, Fla., received a bachelor's degree in sport industry. His teammate Baron Browning graduated with a degree in communications. 

Wade was also one of five Ohio State players to participate in an "externship" with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2019, where he learned about the professional wrestling industry. 

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