Ohio State fifth-year senior safety Josh Proctor played in two games last year for the Buckeyes and had to leave both of them due to injury.

He started the season opener a year ago at Minnesota and left in the fourth quarter due to a shoulder injury. That injury made him a game-time decision one week later in the home opener against Oregon. He didn’t start the game but rotated in until he again suffered an injury. This time, however, it was much more serious.

“I had a compound fracture. My bone actually came out of my leg,” Proctor said this spring. “I got rolled up under the pile. Not a lot of people knew that. I didn’t like talking about it. But yeah, pretty serious injury.”

Proctor tried to get back up after the play but saw the bone coming out of his leg and he immediately dropped back to the ground. At that point, his senior season was over. It was supposed to be his final year at Ohio State before heading off to the NFL. It was also going to be his first season as a full-time starter.

Proctor then spent the rest of the year rehabbing and watching a defense that he knows he could have made better.

“It was pretty difficult just because I felt like I could have helped the guys out,” he said. “Just being out there and having some experience back there, helping the younger guys come along.”

Following an injury, it is normal for a player to find himself in a rut. For Proctor, that rut lasted a month or two before, but even from the get go he was determined to get back because “I didn’t go out like I wanted to.” He had plans for his senior season and those plans had to be scrapped, but he soon came to realize that those plans were simply delayed, not doomed.

Heading into this past spring, new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles didn’t have much to say about Proctor because he hadn’t been able to see him do anything. Head coach Ryan Day said that Proctor could be running around and doing some things by the end of spring, but didn’t expect him to be doing anything overly physical.

Fast-forward to about a week or so before the annual spring game, however, and Proctor said he was about a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. He was brought along slowly during the spring, but Proctor continued to show more and more over the course of the entire camp.

“First getting back out there was kind of shaky,” he said. “Everything was still moving fast again, just being back out there, heart pumping a little bit. But it just takes some getting used to, getting those reps in, calming yourself down, getting that confidence back day by day.”

Through the injury and the rehabilitation, Proctor remained positive. He calls himself a happy person and it is rare to see him without a smile. That smile disappeared for a bit, but he eventually made the best of a tough situation last year. He used last season to learn the game better and watch offenses more. He watched the game from a different perspective, spending time focusing on an offense’s tells.

Even though a year ago at this time, Josh Proctor was looking at being a starting safety in an Ohio State defense, he is better suited and better prepared for that role today.

Now in his fifth year with the Buckeyes and having been through a very difficult ordeal, he has gained the maturity and understanding to be able to learn a new defense on the fly. He will also continue to learn the nuances of what Knowles calls a “safety-driven defense.”

Last season, Proctor was at free safety. This season, he looks to be at strong safety but will have the ability to play free safety as well. There are a number of possibilities this season for Proctor, which is all he’s ever wanted.

“It’s never mattered where I was at,” he said. “I just want to be on the field playing and having fun.”

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Ohio State fifth-year senior safety Josh Proctor played in two games last year for the Buckeyes and had to leave both of them due to injury.

    He started the season opener a year ago at Minnesota and left in the fourth quarter due to a shoulder injury. That injury made him a game-time decision one week later in the home opener against Oregon. He didn’t start the game but rotated in until he again suffered an injury. This time, however, it was much more serious.

    “I had a compound fracture. My bone actually came out of my leg,” Proctor said this spring. “I got rolled up under the pile. Not a lot of people knew that. I didn’t like talking about it. But yeah, pretty serious injury.”

    Proctor tried to get back up after the play but saw the bone coming out of his leg and he immediately dropped back to the ground. At that point, his senior season was over. It was supposed to be his final year at Ohio State before heading off to the NFL. It was also going to be his first season as a full-time starter.

    Proctor then spent the rest of the year rehabbing and watching a defense that he knows he could have made better.

    “It was pretty difficult just because I felt like I could have helped the guys out,” he said. “Just being out there and having some experience back there, helping the younger guys come along.”

    Following an injury, it is normal for a player to find himself in a rut. For Proctor, that rut lasted a month or two before, but even from the get go he was determined to get back because “I didn’t go out like I wanted to.” He had plans for his senior season and those plans had to be scrapped, but he soon came to realize that those plans were simply delayed, not doomed.

    Heading into this past spring, new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles didn’t have much to say about Proctor because he hadn’t been able to see him do anything. Head coach Ryan Day said that Proctor could be running around and doing some things by the end of spring, but didn’t expect him to be doing anything overly physical.

    Fast-forward to about a week or so before the annual spring game, however, and Proctor said he was about a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. He was brought along slowly during the spring, but Proctor continued to show more and more over the course of the entire camp.

    “First getting back out there was kind of shaky,” he said. “Everything was still moving fast again, just being back out there, heart pumping a little bit. But it just takes some getting used to, getting those reps in, calming yourself down, getting that confidence back day by day.”

    Through the injury and the rehabilitation, Proctor remained positive. He calls himself a happy person and it is rare to see him without a smile. That smile disappeared for a bit, but he eventually made the best of a tough situation last year. He used last season to learn the game better and watch offenses more. He watched the game from a different perspective, spending time focusing on an offense’s tells.

    Even though a year ago at this time, Josh Proctor was looking at being a starting safety in an Ohio State defense, he is better suited and better prepared for that role today.

    Now in his fifth year with the Buckeyes and having been through a very difficult ordeal, he has gained the maturity and understanding to be able to learn a new defense on the fly. He will also continue to learn the nuances of what Knowles calls a “safety-driven defense.”

    Last season, Proctor was at free safety. This season, he looks to be at strong safety but will have the ability to play free safety as well. There are a number of possibilities this season for Proctor, which is all he’s ever wanted.

    “It’s never mattered where I was at,” he said. “I just want to be on the field playing and having fun.”

  2. [QUOTE=”southcampus, post: 614132, member: 349″]
    Count me as the leader of the Josh Proctor bandwagon. From off the board to a 2nd day draft pick type senior year, IMO.
    [/QUOTE]
    One concern I have is that he’s never had a full role. It likely would have happened last year, but even in the opener he was still splitting a series here and there with Bryson Shaw. I’m going to chalk that up to simply getting people reps early in the season to see what they can do, rather than doubts about Proctor. However, my initial concern is still there. But I’m also not going to be shocked to see him be an All-Big Ten player. It’s very difficult for me to ignore this…

    [MEDIA=twitter]1163981630740017152[/MEDIA]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exit mobile version