On Wednesday afternoon Ross Homan, a fourth-year junior from Coldwater, Ohio, joined defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa in saying he will be a Buckeye in 2010. Chekwa and Heyward made their announcements separately Tuesday afternoon shortly after teammate Thaddeus Gibson said he would leave school early.
“I had a long talk with my parents and I want to stay at Ohio State for my senior season,” Homan said in a statement. “I look forward to being a senior leader, and helping try and lead our team to the Big Ten title and national championship. I know this upcoming year will help me improve as a player and also help our team. I believe we can even outwork ourselves from what we did this past season.”
Homan, a 6-0, 229-pounder who was a four-star recruit in the class of 2006, led the outright Big Ten champion Buckeyes with 108 in tackles in 2009, his second season as a starter at weakside linebacker. He notched a team-high 12 tackles in Ohio State’s 26-17 defeated of Oregon in the Rose Bowl last Friday. In that game he snagged his fifth interception, tying him with outgoing senior safety Kurt Coleman for the team lead.
“Winning the Rose Bowl was a dream come true for me,” Homan said. “I remember watching the 1997 game as a little kid, (and) to get to play in the Rose Bowl and win it was something special. I believe we can have that kind of success again in 2010.”
With Homan, Heyward and Chekwa announcing their intentions to return, Ohio State can expect six starters back from a defense that finished the regular season in the top five of NCAA Division I-A in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and turnover margin.
During Big Ten games, Ohio State finished first in scoring defense, total defense and opponents’ third-down percentage.
Homan was named Big Ten defensive player of the week Oct. 12 after his performance in Ohio State’s 31-13 defeat of Wisconsin, when he had 15 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Homan has made 19 starts and 215 tackles for his Ohio State career.
A member of the Big Ten all-academic team, he is scheduled to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in consumer affairs.