Ohio State Football: Who Will Be the X-factor on the Buckeye Defense?
The Buckeyes have several seniors coming back on their defense, but the player that could make the defense go from good to elite is not one of those seniors.
New coach Urban Meyer brings in an SEC-esque mentality when it comes to aggression and enthusiasm off the field.
We don't know what he is like on the field when it comes to Ohio State, but there is no doubt that winning two national championships while playing in the SEC will help Ohio State immensely.
The biggest difference between the SEC and everyone else the last few years has been defense, with the defensive lines ranking among the best in the game.
Ohio State has a very good defensive line, though none are quite SEC-level just yet.
One guy can help them get there—junior DT Johnathan Hankins.
Hankins made an immediate impact when he came to OSU as a freshman in 2010 and continued his solid play in 2011.
And if there is one quality that has set championship SEC defenses above the others, it has been having a dominant defensive tackle—namely LSU's Glenn Dorsey and Alabama's Terrence Cody.
Hankins has been a very disruptive defensive tackle in his first two seasons, busting through the middle of offensive lines and making plays at the line of scrimmage.
His quickness at his weight was something that was surprising to see for a player who played at about 335 lbs.
The scary thing for Big Ten opponents is that Hankins has been getting in even better shape this offseason.
Hankins was the first player Meyer commended for his growth not only in the weight room, but also in the classroom and as a person.
Meyer and his coaching staff commended Hankins' growth by "graduating" him up a level from blue to red, which is the second of a three-level, incentive-based reward system he has instituted.
That type of growth is very exciting to see for a player who has the potential to be one of the best DTs OSU has had since "Big Daddy" Dan Wilkinson in 1992.
Ohio State has plenty of good players that have the ability to be much better this season.
Hankins' growth and improvement in the weight room along with his improved dedication can only mean good things for this Buckeye defense.
He has already proven to be a very good defensive tackle.
If he continues to build off of his great start to the offseason with a strong spring practice, his star has a chance to shine brighter than ever.
And if history tells us anything, a great defensive tackle can have a similar impact on a defense that an elite running back has on an offense.
Hankins is very close to being an elite DT, and if he can play at that level, Ohio State's defense will be dynamic once again.
Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?