'Y’all haven’t seen the best yet.' Ohio State football CB Sevyn Banks eyes turnaround
Sevyn Banks is almost halfway through his senior season and has had a minimal impact for Ohio State.
Hindered by a knee injury that was aggravated during a preseason practice, Banks missed the first two games and rotated in against Tulsa on Sept. 18 before returning to the starting lineup in the past couple of weeks.
But Banks, who was billed as a potential shutdown cornerback in the offseason months, envisions a turnaround despite his slow start.
“We've still got some games to play,” he said. “Y’all haven’t seen the best yet. That’s what I can say about that.”
In three games, Banks has given up two receptions on three targets, including a touchdown against Akron, while dropping into pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. He surrendered completions on 58.5% of his targets in his starting debut last season.
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Banks said he isn’t yet fully healthy, though he’s hopeful he’ll be 100% later this fall and has felt good enough to return to the field.
“Feeling good enough to play for sure,” he said.
That wasn’t the case in early September, leaving him on the sideline to serve largely in a mentorship role for inexperienced underclassmen such as Denzel Burke and Ryan Watts, who were replacing him.
“I had to get healthy,” Banks said. “I had to make sure my body's right before I came back on the field. I’m almost back to 100%. It's been OK. Even though I haven't been playing, I’ve been learning. I’ve been giving my knowledge out to everybody.”
If Banks is to make his mark during the second half of the season, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day expects it will follow improvement in practices.
“The better he practices, the better he's going to play,” Day said. “I wish I had a magical equation on how to make that different, but that's what it is. And he has had some better practices and some better reps, and I think with that he’ll bring more confidence to the table and play with more confidence. Certainly, we want to see it and we need it.”
Injury setback for Jantzen Dunn
Freshman safety Jantzen Dunn will be out for the “long-term” after suffering an apparent leg injury on a kickoff at Rutgers.
Day did not specify the length of his expected absence, nor explicitly say if it was a season-ending setback.
“It hurts just the way that all went down,” Day said. “I thought that he had done a good job the week before. He had a good week of practice. He was starting to come on as a young guy. I think he's got a very bright future ahead of him.
“I'm disappointed for him that he's going to have to go through this, but he'll come out of the back end of this and get stronger for it.”
Dunn appeared in his first game against Akron, playing on both defense and special teams.
Fast starts for the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have been putting points on the scoreboard earlier in games in recent weeks.
They finished with 24 points in the first quarter at Rutgers and had 14 the previous week against Akron.
“We put great emphasis on that during the week,” receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba said, “just getting out and starting off fast because we were having slow starts a little bit.”
Spanning the first three games, Ohio State had scored only 10 combined points in the opening period, including being shut out by Oregon.
“I think we were just a little too relaxed in the beginning,” Smith-Njigba added. “Once we put emphasis on that during the week, we showed what we could do.”
Ohio State's defense has returned three interceptions for touchdowns, tied for the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season with South Carolina and Wyoming.
All have come in the last three weeks for the Buckeyes.
“I saw it coming,” safety Bryson Shaw said. “I just know what kind of guys we got, what kind of talent we have. I know how hard everyone works out here. I’m not surprised at all. It’s only going to get better.”
Freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson was added to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which annually recognizes the top player in college football. … Chris Olave is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, which honors a senior with “notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.” Ten finalists are announced later this fall. ... Linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, who missed last week’s game at Rutgers, was in uniform leaving practice on Wednesday night. In his absence, the Buckeyes were down to five scholarship linebackers.