Ohio State Football: 5 Reasons Ryan Shazier Will Be an All-American
The Ohio State football program is known for its ability to develop players at the linebacker position, which is why we see so many in the NFL today.
Sophomore Ryan Shazier is no exception and has the potential to become one of the best to ever go through Columbus.
Between his preeminent speed, uncanny ability to rush the passer and unyielding desire to continue getting better every day, Shazier is set to have a dynamic second season with the Buckeyes.
Here are five reasons why Shazier will be an All-American by the end of fall.
Shazier's best trait as a football player is his absolutely ridiculous athleticism, especially for an outside linebacker.
Notably seen putting a helmet on the ball nearly every play when in the game, the 6'2", 225-pound barbarian was clocked running a 4.35 second 40-yard dash earlier this spring.
To put that into perspective, the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson (RB) runs a 4.40.
Not only does Shazier have straight speed, which is good on special teams and when in pursuit of the quarterback, he possesses the agility needed to get the perfect first step and run on his toes.
Shazier as a DE
We all know Ryan Shazier as an outside linebacker, but he was a surprisingly good defensive end for Plantation High School in Florida.
This is the type of versatility Urban Meyer looks for in his defenders, because the more experience at different positions, the better overall quality performance.
Playing end in high school and then picking up his hand off the dirt in college works in favor of both Shazier and the Buckeyes' defense. This makes him extremely dangerous coming off the edge and gives him a nose for the opposing quarterback.
Shazier's first start
In Shazier's first collegiate start, he compiled 15 tackles and was later awarded as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Ohio State ended up losing to Penn State that day, but his presence undoubtedly made a huge difference within the Buckeyes' front seven.
Just check out his role in their four-down goal line stand starting at 1:42 in the video above. Without him, Stephfon Green is in the end zone and it becomes a two-score game.
Shazier is a playmaker, and that's something OSU will need from their linebackers in 2012.
Picture used courtesy of Eleven Warriors
In order to improve his performance, Ryan Shazier was asked to focus on one thing this offseason: bulk up and get stronger.
So what did he do? He added 25 pounds of pure beef under strength coach Mickey Marotti's program and looks like one helluva athlete.
But not only did Shazier do what was asked of him—he went above and beyond.
He’s been spending extra time in the film room studying himself, identifying flaws and turning them into points of interest on the practice field.
"He's still that same person, he was a leader from the day he came in. He really has that natural ability to do that," said coach Luke Fickell, according to 11W.
Fickel continues, "He's going to be in a situation where he has to do it a lot more, so we're going to push him to do that.
"Definitely a guy that if you try to evaluate how important is football to him, it's up there—and it shows."
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
On top of the many excellent attributes necessary to flourish at the position, Ryan Shazier has one of the better defensive units in the nation to help support his performance.
Counterparts like Curtis Grant (middle) and Etienne Sabino (strong) will provide him a strong core to rely on, while guys such as John Simon and Johnathan Hankins lead the way on the line.
A stellar secondary is also intact with ballhawks Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett prepared to back him up in the passing game.
Shazier's teammates will allow him to become the All-American he's capable of, but more importantly help him grow and prosper into the best player he can possibly be.
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