Ohio State Buckeyes could use Caleb Downs’ elite athleticism to play offense and defense in 2024

Ohio State Buckeyes
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

College football is filled with elite athletes on both sides of the ball. But only a select few are able to actually play both offense and defense in the same game. This is usually reserved for the best of the best, but the Ohio State Buckeyes believe they have one of those very rare talents in safety Caleb Downs.

Downs, who won SEC Freshman of the Year during his lone season at Alabama before transferring to Ohio State, is the brother of current Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs and the nephew of former NFL great Dre Bly. Athleticism and pedigree are not in question for Downs.

While the Buckeyes have yet to see what the 6-foot, 205-pound defensive back can offer in a live game in their system, coaches have already been impressed with his traits. So much so that now, in addition to his usual duties on defense, Ohio State wants to see if he can bring something to the table in Ryan Day’s offense too.

According to Adam King of 10TVSports, coaches have asked Downs to run through several running back drills to see if his defensive explosiveness translates to offense too.

“Where it goes I don’t know that now, but he has the capability.”

Ohio State Buckeyes coach Ryan Day on Caleb Downs

Now, it’s not uncommon for players to try a few other positional drills in college, it even happens in the NFL, but it doesn’t always lead to playing a different spot during a live game. Still, for Burns to shine so much that coaches want to see if he can help them score touchdowns on offense too, he must be doing something right. We’ll see if it means anything later this fall when the games begin for real.

Related: College football games today: 2024 college football schedule, key dates

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