COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There was no real hype for Bradley Roby before the season, no watch lists building buzz and giving a head start on becoming a nationally recognized name.
Even within the program, the conversations in August typically focused more on getting consistent effort instead of praising all the natural gifts Ohio State's top cornerback possessed.
Roby essentially had to go the old-fashioned way to start generating attention and picking up accolades -- the redshirt sophomore had to earn it with his play instead of his reputation.
The athletic cover man had no shortage of chances to prove he was worthy of the All-American honors he just picked up from ESPN.com, and he took advantage of seemingly every opportunity that came his way during Ohio State's perfect season.
Despite missing a game in September with a shoulder injury that still bothered him at times later in the year, Roby led the country in passes defended for much of the season as he broke up 17 throws and intercepted a pair of passes against Nebraska. He also turned heads by delivering three touchdowns for the Buckeyes, returning his first interception against the Huskers for a score and twice taking advantage of loose footballs on special teams by taking them to the end zone.
Roby's breakout season has done more than earn attention from voters, it's also caught the attention of scouts and put him in position to think about making an early jump to the NFL, which his redshirt season would allow him to do after playing just two seasons for the Buckeyes. He's made no secret that winning a championship would be a major incentive for him to return, and Ohio State will be eligible again next year to compete for a conference and national title after serving its sentence this year without losing a game.
If the Buckeyes can keep Roby, the chances of making another run will surely increase. And perhaps with his name now much more established across the country, his pro stock and chances of winning even more awards personally might go up as well.
All-Big Ten choices announced: After picking up his All-American honors from ESPN, it comes as no surprise that Roby was tabbed for the ESPN.com all-conference squad as well.
But he had plenty of company from the only undefeated team in the Big Ten, with five other Buckeyes earning first-team recognition to cap the first season under coach Urban Meyer.
Ohio State placed three other defenders on the squad, with defensive end John Simon, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and linebacker Ryan Shazier making the cut along with Roby. Quarterback Braxton Miller and left tackle Jack Mewhort were honored on the offensive side of the ball.