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NFL draft: Eli Apple selected in first round by the New York Giants

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Former OSU cornerback Eli Apple (13) waits for the ball to be snapped during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15, 2014 in Minneapolis. Credit: Lantern file photo

Former OSU cornerback Eli Apple (13) waits for the ball to be snapped during a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15, 2014 in Minneapolis.
Credit: Lantern file photo

Former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple has been selected with the New York Giants’ first-round pick at No. 10 overall.

This marks the first-time in OSU history that three players were taken in the top 10, and the first time by any school since Oklahoma in 2010.

The redshirt sophomore announced his intentions to forgo two years of eligibility and enter the NFL draft on Jan. 4. The former four-star recruit out of New Jersey started two seasons at cornerback for OSU, earning freshman All-American honors from Athlon’s and Scout.com, while also being named the 2016 Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP for holding Notre Dame’s second-team All-American wide receiver Will Fuller to just 32 yards.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Apple was the Buckeyes’ second cornerback in 2014 opposite Doran Grant, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft. Apple played in all 15 games as a redshirt freshman, starting all but one. The 6-foot-1 defensive back totaled three interceptions in 2014, including one in the title game which sealed OSU’s destiny as 2014 national champions.

In 2015, Apple was the team’s No. 1 cornerback on the depth chart and did an admirable job of defending some of the country’s top talents at wide receiver. He started in all 13 games in 2015 and was instrumental in a stout secondary that ranked sixth in the FBS in pass-efficiency defense.

Known for finishing plays through contact and having an unrelenting motor until the whistle blew, Apple had 18 pass break-ups and 83 tackles in two seasons with the Scarlet and Gray.

Coming as a surprise to most people, Apple was projected as a late first-round pick, or even early second round. That being said, the Giants decided to select a defensive back after finishing last in the NFL in pass defense in 2015, and they believed Apple was their guy.

The Giants’ 2016 opener is scheduled to come on Sept. 11 in Dallas at 4:25 p.m. against the Cowboys, where Apple will reunite with former teammate Ezekiel Elliott, who was selected at No. 4 overall by the Cowboys.

Correction 4/28: An earlier version of this story said the 2016 draft marks the first time in NFL history that three players from the same school were taken in the top 10, when in fact it was the first time in OSU history but not by any school.

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