Why Ohio State football cornerback Jordan Hancock was held out in win at Northwestern

Blame it on the rain, OSU defensive coordinator says

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Since making a midseason return from a hamstring injury, Ohio State cornerback Jordan Hancock saw his workload ramp up.

He played 15 snaps in his debut against Iowa before his role doubled the following week at Penn State when he went in for 31 snaps, according to the tally from Pro Football Focus.

But Hancock did not rotate in at any point in Saturday’s win at Northwestern.

Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said Tuesday that Hancock was held out as a precaution, a decision made as a result of the rainy and windy weather that blanketed the north shore of Chicago that afternoon.

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The Buckeyes were cognizant of the potential for the poor conditions at Ryan Field to aggravate his hamstring or cause another issue.

“You have to be careful,” Knowles said. “The field is a mess, and this guy is fighting his way and competing his way off of a significant injury. You don’t want to put him — unless you have to — in that situation where he might be injured.”

Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Jordan Hancock (13) lines up during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.

Depth has already been a little precarious at cornerback, leaving Hancock as the top backup at the position behind Denzel Burke and JK Johnson.

With Cameron Brown unavailable for most of Big Ten play due to an unspecified injury, Johnson has moved into the starting lineup.

Freshman Jyaire Brown replaced Hancock as the No. 3 cornerback at Northwestern and broke up a pass in the fourth quarter.

“Jyaire did a good job,” Knowles said. “He really sat on some routes when they started throwing the ball at the end.”

Brown batted away the ball thrown by quarterback Ryan Hilinski on the Wildcats’ second-to-last drive. Hilinski had lofted a pass toward receiver Donny Navarro III in the Buckeyes’ territory just past midfield when Brown stepped in its path and knocked the ball out of bounds.

He previously broke up a pass in a win over Rutgers last month and a week earlier against Wisconsin when he made a start due to injuries.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman

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