Football Urban Meyer praises Brendon White in Monday press conference

Ohio State did not have much secondary depth heading into the Nebraska game Saturday. The Buckeyes were without sophomore safety Isaiah Pryor, out with a shoulder impingement, and sophomore cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, out with a groin injury suffered during practice that week. Jordan Fuller did not do Ohio State any favors. The junior safety was ejected from the game in the second quarter after being called for targeting. But sophomore safety Brendon White gave head coach Urban Meyer some hope. He recorded 13 total tackles — two for loss.In his weekly press conference, Meyer would not go as far as to say White’s performance was “refreshing” for the Ohio State defense, noting he is not sure he has used that word in his life. But he said White’s performance was important, especially at a shaky position. “Going back to springtime, safety was not a solidified position. We have to play much better at that spot,” Meyer said. “You had some injuries this week. And obviously the targeting call. And there he is, he’s in the game. And looked out there, you had Shaun Wade at one safety and Brendon White at the other.” Meyer said after the game Saturday he expects Pryor and Okudah to be back for Michigan State. But, with White’s performance, the head coach said he has a decision to make: whether White earned a start even with a healthy secondary. Meyer said that answer will come in the next few days, but, nevertheless, the sophomore safety has earned playing time. “We’re going to find out. He’s certainly going to play. He’s earned that right. He’s practiced. That was coming,” Meyer said. “His practices have been very good the last couple of weeks and coach Grinch made that clear in front of the team after the game. But he’s certainly earned the right to be on the field.” Without a definite starter next to Fuller, Meyer said White will still have to earn the trust of the coaching staff. But after his performance against the Cornhuskers, White will have continued opportunities to grow into that role, Meyer said. Hartline picks up on the recruiting trailEven with the lack of stability with the Ohio State wide receivers heading into the 2018 season, with the firing of former wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith, interim wide receivers coach Brian Hartline did not have time to learn the ropes of recruiting. However, in his new role, Hartline has continued the trend, securing a commitment from 2020 four-star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. A Rockwall, Texas, native, Smith-Njigba is the No. 59 wide-receiver recruit in the country and the No. 36 recruit in the start, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Along with Smith-Njigba, Hartline has helped keep five-star 2019 wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who was at the Nebraska game Saturday, committed to the Buckeyes even after Smith’s firing in July, and added a commitment from 2019 four-star wide receiver Jameson Williams in September. To Meyer, Hartline is doing a very good job in a role he was forced into. “He was thrust into a situation,” Meyer said. “And I think one of the great things he had, he had a veteran group to coach, and he has very good recruiters around here to see how it’s done. He’s been here a couple of years. That’s a positive.” Meyer has not confirmed whether Hartline’s title of interim coach will turn into a full-time role, saying he will “address it at the right time.”

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