Central Ohio players begin NFL process

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Cincinnati safety Darrick Forrest celebrates a third-down stop against Ohio State in 2019. Forrest, a 2017 Walnut Ridge graduate, was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft May 1 by the Washington Football Team.

Three players from central Ohio were selected in the NFL draft held April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.

In addition, the two days after the draft saw another group of area players sign as undrafted free agents. 

The three drafted players were selected May 1, led by Cincinnati safety Darrick Forrest, a 2017 Walnut Ridge graduate who was chosen in the fifth round (No. 163 overall) by the Washington Football Team. 

Following Forrest were two 2016 Gahanna graduates, as long snapper Camaron Cheeseman from Michigan was picked by Washington in the sixth round (No. 225 overall) and defensive end Jonathon Cooper from Ohio State was selected in the seventh round (No. 239 overall) by the Denver Broncos. 

In the hours after the draft, 2016 Westerville South graduate Gunnar Vogel (OL) from Northwestern signed with the Chicago Bears, 2017 Franklin Heights graduate Brenden Knox (RB) from Marshall signed with the Dallas Cowboys and 2017 Olentangy Liberty graduate Brendon White (DB) from Rutgers signed with the New York Jets. 

Forrest is a 6-foot, 200-pounder who helped the Bearcats go a combined 22-5 the last two seasons, including 9-1 last fall. He finished his college career with 200 tackles and six interceptions, and was honorable mention all-AAC last season. 

“You feel so good about (a player like) Darrick Forrest at safety, and like I said, we do like the long snapper,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said in a video posted on NFL.com. “Camaron’s got some personality.”

Cheeseman appeared in 39 games for Michigan before opting out of the 2020 season. 

A 6-4, 240-pounder, Cheeseman snapped for punts and kicks in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Alabama.

“Can’t wait to join the team and the whole family and brotherhood,” Cheeseman said in a video posted on NFL.com. “I didn’t get the opportunity to play last year. I was in the position where I was just hoping for an opportunity of some kind.” 

Cooper was a three-year starter and fifth-year senior who last fall helped Ohio State finish 7-1 and reach the national championship game. 

Listed at 6-4, 257, Cooper finished with 24 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss last season and was third-team all-Big Ten. 

Vogel is a 6-6, 310-pounder who started every game as Northwestern finished 7-2, including winning the Citrus Bowl. 

Knox, who is 6-0, 223, rushed for 887 yards and nine touchdowns as Marshall went 7-3 last fall. He closed his career with 2,274 yards and 20 touchdowns on 455 rushes.  

White is a 6-2, 220-pounder who played quarterback and defensive back in high school and spent his first three college seasons at Ohio State in the secondary before earning honorable mention all-Big Ten honors at safety as a senior last fall for Rutgers. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek