Thursday, February 10, 2011

OHIO STATE 2011 SIGNEE JEREMY CASH WILL 'TAKE YOUR HEAD OFF'

Ohio State class of 2011 safety Jeremy Cash is known for hard hits. (The Buckeye Times/Joe Stueve)
COLUMBUS — When Jeremy Cash was asked about the type of style he plays as a free safety, the new Ohio State Buckeye was blunt and honest.

“I mean, my main focus is I’ll come and take your head off,” Cash replied.

Cash earned his hard-hitting reputation at Plantation (FL) High School where he and another freshly introduced Buckeye, Under Armour All-American linebacker Ryan Shazier, put together quite a resume.

Ohio State safeties coach Paul Haynes described Cash as big, rangy, physical and smart. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Cash also brings a 3.9 GPA to Ohio State. Haynes said there isn’t a substitute for having smarts off the field.

“Those kids can come right in and pick up on the system,” he said.

As a junior, Cash put together a stellar campaign with 96 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He also took one of his fumble recoveries back for a touchdown. But just as his stock as a highly touted recruit was soaring into his senior year, Cash went down with a torn right meniscus and his hopes of winning a state title were finished.

“I mean it was rough knowing that it was my senior season,” Cash said. “Me and my boy (Shazier) were supposed to take our team to the state championship game, but I just had to do what I could to get back and help my team win as many games as possible.”

Cash certainly stuck to his word.

After missing only five games, Cash returned to the field and helped his team end the season with five straight wins after starting out 0-6.

“I was initially told I’d miss the whole season,” he said. “But with intense rehab I managed to come back and play five games.”

Haynes said Cash showed great leadership qualities while dealing with his injury and rehabilitation process last season.

“He’s a very confident kid,” Haynes said. “Like I said, he just does all the things that we like to do in that position.”

Cash assures that the injury is behind him and he is now 100-percent healthy.

“I came back and scored five touchdowns on defense,” he said. “Can’t argue with that.”

COMPETING FOR TIME ... With three starters graduating from the defensive backfield, the Buckeyes have quite a few holes to fill. Haynes said losing Jermale Hines and Aaron Gant now puts a lot of pressure squarely on the younger players to step up.

“You talk about how fast these guys got to learn, these guys got to learn fast,” Haynes said. “Because we learn real fast that there could be a situation where guys got to go in there unexpected. We expect these guys to come in and compete and come in and play.”

Cash said he’s well aware of the competition that he will face this spring as he attempts to make his presence known to the coaching staff. He’s quickly coming to terms, though, that college football is on another level compared to high school.

“There’s always going to be competition,” Cash said. “Actually, I thought my game was higher than it was, but college is a different beast. Everybody is faster, stronger. Most of the guys have put me in my place and showed me I have to get back on the grind and do what I do.”