Ohio State football safety Josh Proctor will return for 2023 season

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State’s secondary in 2023 will be deeper than previously thought, thanks to the return of a veteran safety.

Josh Proctor will return next season, safeties coach Perry Eliano told The Dispatch on Friday.

“Super excited about Josh returning!” Eliano texted. “He’s a great teammate, phenomenal athlete, and there are TEAM and individual goals that he wants to accomplish with his brothers!”

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The 6-2, 205-pound Proctor was a fifth-year safety in 2022 and was honored on Senior Day before the Michigan game. Traditionally, players who are so recognized don’t return the following season. But Proctor will be an exception. He will have a final year of eligibility because of the waiver issued by the NCAA after the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Oct 29, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Josh Proctor (41) high fives linebacker C.J. Hicks (11) on a kickoff during the fourth quarter of the NCAA Division I football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Proctor opened the last two seasons as a starter, but neither stint lasted long. In 2021, the Arkansas native broke his leg against Oregon game in the second game. His athleticism, range and aggressiveness were sorely missed as inexperienced players were pressed into action and often exploited the rest of that season.

Last year, Proctor was replaced early in the season opener against Notre Dame after missing a tackle that led to a 54-yard gain. Lathan Ransom took over and never relinquished the job.

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Proctor played 192 defensive snaps, 19th among Buckeye defenders, according to Pro Football Focus. Proctor did play extensively on special teams.

Oct 1, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Josh Proctor (41) walks into Ohio Stadium prior to the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Scheller-The Columbus Dispatch

Though his 2022 season wasn’t what he envisioned, he maintained an upbeat attitude.

“I just take it day by day,” Proctor said on media day before the Buckeyes’ College Football Semifinal loss to Georgia. “I don’t think too far ahead and just live in the moment.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say (I’m) frustrated. I don’t think too much about it. I try to do what I can do, control what I can control, and let things fall in place as they may be.”

The Buckeyes will lose safeties Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McAlister from last year’s team. But Ransom is also returning and the Buckeyes have added Syracuse transfer Ja’Had Carter.

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