The last time Tim Walton was on the field as a Buckeye, he was intercepting Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins and posting seven tackles in helping lead Ohio State to a 24-6 win over the Nittany Lions.

That was late October of 1993, and now just over 28 years later Walton is back at Ohio State as its new secondary coach.

It has been a long road traveled for the former Buckeye cornerback, but he’s happy the trail finally led him back home.

“It’s awesome,” Walton said this week. “Getting a chance to come back where you played football and get back over on the old turf is exciting.”

Walton is part of head coach Ryan Day’s defensive overhaul, which features an additional new secondary coach in Perry Eliano (who will handle the safeties), and new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Walton is not the first former Buckeye football player to be back as an Ohio State assistant and he won’t be the last. So much of the coaching ladder involves timing, which is why Walton was like most former Buckeyes who get into coaching — he didn’t really put a target on coming back to Ohio State.

“No. Being in the NFL or college football, you don’t know what path you’ll end up taking,” he explained. “So those things work out at the right time. Sometimes you can want to come but the timing is not right or is not an opportunity that the job is open at that point. So it kind of just worked out this way. So it ended up being a great opportunity to get back home.”

Walton has spent the last 13 years in the NFL with four different franchises. He began his coaching career in college, however, as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green before moving on to Memphis, then Syracuse, LSU, Miami, and back to Memphis as a defensive coordinator.

Walton won a BCS title in 2003 at LSU and the opportunity to once again play for national titles was another reason coming back to Ohio State was such an easy decision.

“It’s a winning program. You don’t get any better than this,” he said. “They play elite level football. You’re going to have a chance to play for it all every year. The fact that you played here so you’re familiar with the territory. All those things just lined up. And like I said, you don’t get any better than this. I mean, this is high-level football here and you got a legitimate chance to go compete and go win at the highest level. And you’re going to coach and recruit guys that obviously have the ability to go play at the next level, so you’re gonna see good talent. And the family tradition here and the people that I know just made it a no-brainer for me.”

So often when a college coach heads to the pros, he never looks back. It’s a different kind of work schedule in the NFL compared to college football, and it’s a different kind of coaching. Especially now.

The times have changed since Walton was last in college football. Of course, the same could be said if he was last in college football in 2019. With the transfer portal and NIL going mainstream over the last year, more college coaches are probably looking to the NFL for a respite.

Despite the uncertainties around the game, the one certainty that Tim Walton relied upon when making his decision was the unique place that Ohio State has always been and continues to be.

“Yeah, this is a special place. It had to be a special place like this, which it is. So that’s what made it easy to do, exciting to do,” he said. “I’m blessed. You know you have a chance to play against the best of the best and at the end of the year you have a chance to play for all the marbles if you do the right thing.

“So when you have that opportunity, I mean, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about competing and it’s all about playing at the highest level. So when you get a chance to do that, you play in college football to have a chance at national championships. In the NFL, you want to get Super Bowls. That’s what competitors do and the fact that you get to do it at a place that you have strong ties with, makes it a bonus.”

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  1. The last time Tim Walton was on the field as a Buckeye, he was intercepting Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins and posting seven tackles in helping lead Ohio State to a 24-6 win over the Nittany Lions.

    That was late October of 1993, and now just over 28 years later Walton is back at Ohio State as its new secondary coach.

    It has been a long road traveled for the former Buckeye cornerback, but he’s happy the trail finally led him back home.

    “It’s awesome,” Walton said this week. “Getting a chance to come back where you played football and get back over on the old turf is exciting.”

    Walton is part of head coach Ryan Day’s defensive overhaul, which features an additional new secondary coach in Perry Eliano (who will handle the safeties), and new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

    Walton is not the first former Buckeye football player to be back as an Ohio State assistant and he won’t be the last. So much of the coaching ladder involves timing, which is why Walton was like most former Buckeyes who get into coaching — he didn’t really put a target on coming back to Ohio State.

    “No. Being in the NFL or college football, you don’t know what path you’ll end up taking,” he explained. “So those things work out at the right time. Sometimes you can want to come but the timing is not right or is not an opportunity that the job is open at that point. So it kind of just worked out this way. So it ended up being a great opportunity to get back home.”

    Walton has spent the last 13 years in the NFL with four different franchises. He began his coaching career in college, however, as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green before moving on to Memphis, then Syracuse, LSU, Miami, and back to Memphis as a defensive coordinator.

    Walton won a BCS title in 2003 at LSU and the opportunity to once again play for national titles was another reason coming back to Ohio State was such an easy decision.

    “It’s a winning program. You don’t get any better than this,” he said. “They play elite level football. You’re going to have a chance to play for it all every year. The fact that you played here so you’re familiar with the territory. All those things just lined up. And like I said, you don’t get any better than this. I mean, this is high-level football here and you got a legitimate chance to go compete and go win at the highest level. And you’re going to coach and recruit guys that obviously have the ability to go play at the next level, so you’re gonna see good talent. And the family tradition here and the people that I know just made it a no-brainer for me.”

    So often when a college coach heads to the pros, he never looks back. It’s a different kind of work schedule in the NFL compared to college football, and it’s a different kind of coaching. Especially now.

    The times have changed since Walton was last in college football. Of course, the same could be said if he was last in college football in 2019. With the transfer portal and NIL going mainstream over the last year, more college coaches are probably looking to the NFL for a respite.

    Despite the uncertainties around the game, the one certainty that Tim Walton relied upon when making his decision was the unique place that Ohio State has always been and continues to be.

    “Yeah, this is a special place. It had to be a special place like this, which it is. So that’s what made it easy to do, exciting to do,” he said. “I’m blessed. You know you have a chance to play against the best of the best and at the end of the year you have a chance to play for all the marbles if you do the right thing.

    “So when you have that opportunity, I mean, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about competing and it’s all about playing at the highest level. So when you get a chance to do that, you play in college football to have a chance at national championships. In the NFL, you want to get Super Bowls. That’s what competitors do and the fact that you get to do it at a place that you have strong ties with, makes it a bonus.”

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