Ohio State Football: Breaking Down Top Players on Buckeyes Defense
Ohio State had the No. 19 total defense in the nation last season according to NCAA.com. They were the No. 27 scoring defense, No. 14 against the pass and No. 50 against the run.
None of those marks are terrible, but you can expect all of them to improve this season. Ohio State returns every major contributor to their defense's starting 11 this season, and those players will be hungry to redeem themselves from last season's disappointing campaign.
The Buckeyes will be led by a few elite defensive players. Let's take a look at who they are and what they bring to the table in Columbus.
Simon is the bull in the china closet of any Big Ten offense this season. The Buckeyes' defensive end is a blue-collar force with a nasty demeanor from the left side.
Last season he picked up 54 tackles, seven sacks and 16 tackles for a loss. He's a two-way disruptive force because of his explosive first step and his excellent punch. He uses his 260-pound frame to bowl weaker opponents over and wreak havoc in the backfield.
The Big Ten requires toughness, and Simon has plenty of that. His presence will be the rallying point for Ohio State's pass rush, and his strength will hold the edge of the Buckeyes' ground defense.
He's as important, if not more so, than any defensive player on the Buckeyes roster. His talent and experience make him extremely valuable.
Roby is an elite cover corner. He intercepted three passes as a freshman last season and will only improve in his second collegiate season.
The Buckeyes have a very good set of corners overall. Travis Howard and Doran Grant will be very solid opposite of Roby, but he's the unquestioned leader at the position. His elite ball skills and ability to play in run support make him a valuable commodity for Urban Meyer's team.
Roby had 47 tackles last season. He's only 5'11'' and 190 pounds, but he brings a certain degree of toughness to the table. He doesn't back down from big hits, and he is a fundamentally sound wrap tackler.
Ohio State's front seven has an absurd amount of talent this season, but Roby will be expected to lead the secondary. He doesn't have a ton of experience, but he makes up for it with his copious amounts of talent.
Shazier had 51 tackles and three sacks from his outside linebacker position last season. He will improve his play as a sophomore this season.
Shazier is excellent at holding the edge against the run because of his strength. He has excellent balance and keeps a low center of gravity, despite his 6'2'' frame. This allows Shazier to hold his block against larger offensive tackles, and his improving quickness allows him to shed blocks.
The Buckeyes have plenty of talent at linebacker, especially with the emergence of sophomore Curtis Grant in the middle. Shazier, along with Etienne Sabino, will be expected to lead this defense.
Shazier needs to improve in pass coverage, but his sound tackling makes him a consistent threat in the box.
Wildcard: Michael Bennett
I didn't have to add this, and it could have been Johnathan Hankins here, but I decided to anyway. Buckeye fans are excited for Bennett's larger role this season on the interior of the defensive line, or at least they should be.
Bennett appeared in 13 games last season. He only recorded 17 tackles, but five of those came for a loss. He also managed to pick up three sacks in his limited role.
He's a tantalizing blend of size and speed. His 280-pound frame gives him enough strength to command multiple blockers, but his first step improved as each game passed last season.
Garrett Goebel will probably start at nose tackle next to Hankins next season, but Bennett's role will increase every week. It won't take long for his talent to become noticeable and for him to disrupt offensive gameplans on a weekly basis.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?