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  Jeffrey Okudah already was on the radar of NFL scouts as he began his second season as a starting cornerback for Ohio State. Most observers agreed he was a good-sized, tough, fast pass defender - even with a big fat zero on his career stat line for interceptions. Suddenly, he has three picks in the last two weeks - two in a prime-time Saturday night win over Nebraska - and his profile and NFL stock are rising. The junior from Texas acknowledged that the first interception - which came in his 31st game and was overshadowed by the Buckeyes' offensive onslaught in a 76-5 rout of Miami (Ohio) - helped to "kind of get a monkey off my back."

"I think it did give me some confidence to show myself I could do it," he said. "Then coming out and following up with a pretty good performance, I think that speaks to the confidence I came into the game with." Last Saturday, he broke in front of Wan'Dale Robinson on Nebraska's first possession for his first pick. Two Husker possessions later, Okudah grabbed a tipped ball out of the air while lying flat on his back. "Sometimes you've got to thank the football gods," he said. Coach Ryan Day said Okudah has thrived in the new defensive scheme installed by co-coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley. Hafley believes Okudah, a former five-star recruit, has improved with experience and has learned to practice harder and prepare better for the No. 4 Buckeyes. "He's spending a lot of time listening to the 'why,'" Hafley said. "Like he's starting to understand why certain (pass) routes are coming. So I think he's seeing the game a little bit different, and that slows it down for him. Mentally, I think he's becoming a better football player." - AP College Football


(DS#1 CB) Jr/2020 CB *Jeffrey OkudahOhio State
News Source: AP College Football


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