Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah Declares for 2020 NFL Draft After Loss to Clemson

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2020

Ohio State defensive back Jeff Okudah plays against Florida Atlantic in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL draft class has gotten stronger with the addition of cornerback Jeff Okudah, who announced Wednesday he will forgo his senior year at Ohio State to turn pro: 

Jeff Okudah @jokudah

Free Jefe. Jeremiah 29:11. https://t.co/i9DSjUmrPa

Okudah has been a stellar performer over the past three seasons with the Buckeyes. He appeared in all 14 games as a freshman in 2017, recording 17 total tackles. 

The 2018 campaign was Okudah's breakout year when he tied for the team lead with eight passes defensed, including two in Ohio State's Rose Bowl win over Washington. He carried that performance over to his junior year as an integral part of the Buckeyes defense that allowed just 13.7 points per game.

NFL talent evaluators were fawning all over Okudah even before he declared for the draft. One scout compared him to two of the best cornerback prospects of the decade in October. 

"Pat [Peterson]. [Jalen] Ramsey. Whoever you want to compare him to, go ahead," an area scout tasked with scouting Ohio State told B/R's Matt Miller. "He's better than any dude that's come out of there."

He's listed at 6'1" and 200 pounds, with Miller citing his "athleticism and size" and being "mature and self-motivated" as two of his greatest strengths.

Miller ranked the Ohio State star as his No. 4 overall prospect in this class, giving him higher draft grades than two recent cornerbacks previously developed by the school:

"Beyond ideal, Okudah excels at every trait the pros want in the position. He's physical, tough, fast, smart and has technique to boot. Okudah grades out higher than Marshon Lattimore or Denzel Ward did at the same point of their careers. Compared to the elite corners of the last five draft classes, only Jalen Ramsey is currently graded higher."

Given his on-field credentials and glowing scouting reports, Okudah is in a prime position to capitalize. Ohio State has done an excellent job of producing high-end talent in the secondary in recent years. 

Okudah will likely join the group of first-round Buckeyes that includes Lattimore, Ward, Malik Hooker and Eli Apple in April.