COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Kerry Coombs was at Colerain High School last week and told the coaching staff there he couldn’t wait to be in Philadelphia for the NFL Draft.
After three Ohio State defensive backs were selected in the first round Thursday night, Coombs, the Ohio State cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator, was on cloud nine.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Coombs told WCPO.com. “Imagine if your son or daughter had a goal or a dream and worked every day to make that a reality and then it did. I think this is a direct result of the standard set by the program and in the unit room.”
Ohio State tied the 2002 Miami Hurricanes with its trio of first-round defensive back picks this year. No program has developed four first-round defensive backs over two seasons or had three cornerbacks taken until Ohio State did Thursday night and in 2016.
The Buckeyes are certainly continuing a trend of "Defensive Back University" or "DBU." That may include Colerain 2017 cornerback Amir Riep down the road.
This year's resume speaks for itself at the NFL Draft. Coombs, the former Colerain head coach and University of Cincinnati assistant, couldn't be more proud.
Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, a former Cleveland Glenville standout, was selected 11th by the New Orleans Saints.
Lattimore’s name may be familiar to Loveland football fans. He caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass but was held to minus-2 yards rushing against Loveland in the 2013 Division II state final in a snowstorm in Canton. Loveland won the state final 41-23 and finished the season with a 15-0 record.
Ohio State safety Malik Hooker was picked at No. 15 by the Indianapolis Colts. Cornerback Gareon Conley, despite facing sexual assault allegations, was taken No. 24 by the Oakland Raiders.
Cornerback Eli Apple was selected No. 10 by the New York Giants in 2016. Cornerback Bradley Roby was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.
All those highlights were summed up Friday morning on social media. It's recruiting gold these days.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer tweeted an infographic with photos of Coombs and the defensive backs selected over the past two seasons.
INCREDIBLE accomplishment by Kerry Coombs, players and whole staff! pic.twitter.com/zCLXpin3HW
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) April 28, 2017
“Incredible accomplishment by Kerry Coombs, (the) players and (the) whole staff,” Meyer tweeted.
Meanwhile, incoming Ohio State freshman and former Colerain standout Amir Riep was also thinking about Columbus and the significance of three Ohio State players going to the NFL on Friday.
Riep, who signed with the Buckeyes Feb. 1, will graduate soon and report to Ohio State June 4.
During the recruiting process Riep heard from Coombs about Ohio State’s reputation of sending recent cornerbacks to the NFL. Though Riep had 40-plus scholarship offers and could’ve played right away at other schools, he wanted to the chance to compete against the other top-level recruits within the program.
“Expectations are to be the best in the country at what you do,” said Coombs, a 1979 Colerain graduate. “It undoubtedly helps recruiting; it’s not theory, it’s testimony and a lot of young people can see that.”
Riep knew about Apple and Roby before he verbally committed to Ohio State in July 2016. Just as how Penn State used to be commonly known for linebackers, Ohio State has the same reputation for defensive backs.
“(Ohio State players) are getting great coaching from (Coombs) and the entire defensive staff,” Colerain Defensive Backs Coach Phill Joseph said. “There are lots of five-star kids (from other schools) that never make it whether that’s because of coaching or decisions or whatever. Obviously for Ohio State it’s getting those guys there and then what they do with them once they are there. I think it’s a combination of those things.”
Joseph, who has coached at Colerain for 10 years, said Riep is the best practice player he’s coached. He believes Riep, who is 6 feet and 185 pounds, is ready for the Ohio State spotlight.
“For me I think it’s that idea that he is ready to come in and compete,” Joseph said. “He’s got physical talent and he’s got physical tools. He is not shy about saying ‘I am ready to go and I want to go to work.’”
Riep, a unanimous four-star recruit, has said going to Ohio State is a dream come true. If National Signing Day was any indication, Riep is eager to get started. He hand-delivered his National Letter of Intent to the coaches.
“I am very proud to wear Scarlet and Gray,” Riep said.
Coombs knows what Riep is about. He understands his enthusiasm. Coombs said Thursday night was a perfect illustration for Riep to bring his best every day and follow the plan set forth within the program.
“Obviously it takes great players to make this a reality and young players like Amir are provided with the opportunity to see how other great players can experience unprecedented success if they work very hard,” Coombs said. “There are great examples of that in the room every day. It’s quite a culture.”