Whole Nine Sports

Who’s Really DBU?

LSU Secondary
Photo by Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images
Tyler Habursky
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The concept of colleges calling themselves the University of a certain position started this last decade with Penn State claiming the title of “LBU” because of the linebackers that have come through the program. Since then, the most highly debated title has been DBU, Defensive Back University. This is based off many reasons, in my opinion. That includes draft picks, NFL careers, and their performance in college. I’ve recently been watching a lot of corners and safeties in this draft class and  started to think long and hard about who “DBU” is and wanted to come to an answer. After sifting through some teams, I narrowed it down to two teams: LSU and Ohio State. Sorry Florida and Texas fans, you didn’t make the cut. LSU and Ohio State are both top tier programs who have argued about being DBU. Let’s take a look at who really is DBU by breaking down these categories.

Draft Picks

Denzel Ward
Photo by Jay LaPrete, Associated Press

For the draft picks category I’ll look at the draft picks for each team in recent history. Quantity of pick matters, but so does the quality, first round picks are very important to this question.

Since 2000, Ohio State has had 10 first round picks at DB. They are: Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore, Chris Gamble, Gareon Conley, Malcolm Jenkins, Donte Whitner, Nate Clements, Ahmed Plummer, Bradley Roby, and Eli Apple. They’ve also had 15 other draft picks during this time, even though most of them were later round picks. Ignore how well these players have done in the league, just for the moment. It still is important for them to have so many picks. It is also worth noting that Jeffrey Okudah will most definitely be a first round pick in this year’s draft and Damon Arnette shouldn’t last very long into round 2.  

For LSU, they’ve had 5 first round picks at DB since 2000. Patrick Peterson, Tre’Davious White, Eric Reid, LaRon Landry, and Morris Claiborne make up this group. They’ve had 16 other draft picks, but compared to Ohio State they are a lot higher in the draft with guys like Donte Jackson, Greedy Williams, and Tyrann Mathieu going top 100. Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit both look to be first round picks in this year’s draft.

Draft Picks Winner: Ohio State

NFL Careers

Patrick Peterson
Photo by Sean Gardner, AP Photo

Being drafted high is a great accomplishment, but making a good NFL career of it is just as important. Let’s rank some of the players that both schools have had drafted since 2010.

1. Patrick Peterson, LSU

2. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

3. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

4. Tre’Davious White, LSU

5. Denzel Ward, Ohio State

6. Eric Reid, LSU

7. Bradley Roby, Ohio State

8. Donte Jackson, LSU

9. Gareon Conley, Ohio State

10. Eli Apple, Ohio State

11. Greedy Williams, LSU

Ranking these players was tough because some of them are so early on in their careers and there’s still a lot to see before we’re able to truly know their value. The list, nonetheless, is very talented. The way you rank them may vary, but it’s hard to deny that LSU DBs have had better careers from this group.

Malcolm Jenkins, drafted in 2009 out of Ohio State, has been one of the most consistent safeties in the league and should also be considered here.

Both schools have put out some guys that proved to not be worth their draft selection. For LSU, I look at Morris Claiborne. His career was all over the place and he never put it all together. LaRon Landry had a decent career, but never really lived up to being the 6th overall pick. Eli Apple from OSU has shaped things up in New Orleans, but was not worth the 10th overall pick for the Giants and was a reach at the time as it stands.

NFL Careers Winner: LSU

College Performance

LSU Secondary
Photo by Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images

Of course all of these guys had very impressive collegiate careers and some insane secondaries were formed with guys playing together at the same time. This one could go either way. Ohio State had some great secondaries during the Malcolm Jenkins era and have been so good recently as well. However, LSU has their guys always playing at the highest level and having Patrick Peterson and Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu on the same team makes this one go to LSU.

College Performance Winner: LSU

The Future

Shaun Wade
Photo by Amal Saeed, The Lantern

The future at DB is bright for both schools. They are both littered with 4 and 5 star recruits. We just need to see if they are able to put it all together and make an impact which I’m sure they will. LSU currently has Derek Stingley Jr. at cornerback, who took the nation by storm and was one of the best in the nation as only a true freshman. Ohio State’s Shaun Wade, who almost came out this year and would’ve likely been a first round pick, is back for the Buckeyes. Both of their careers still have a long way to go, but the future is promising.

The Future: Tied


LSU Secondary
Photo by the Shreveport Times

When it comes down to it I have to say that LSU is currently DBU. The careers that some of their players have made in the NFL have been very important for their respective teams. When you see an LSU DB, you just expect more because of the history behind it. For Ohio State, I feel they are just a few first round picks away from me going with them as DBU because of how close this was. That is, if they even want the title. This fall Jeff Okudah came out and said they are “BIA” (Best In America).

When it comes down to it both teams are consistently successful and have great secondaries. I’ll give LSU the crown for now.