OSU Football: Is Ryan Shazier the Next James Laurinaitis?

Billy George@@billzonwheelzCorrespondent IISeptember 30, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Ryan Shazier #10 of Ohio State Buckeyes is seen on the field during the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Ohio State football program has produced some great linebackers in the history of its program. Over the last decade alone, 13 Buckeye linebackers have been selected in the NFL draft. That's pretty impressive if you ask me!

The last great to play the linebacker position at Ohio State was a guy by the name of James Laurinaitis. Nicknamed "Little Animal" the stud was the heart and soul of the Buckeye defense, leading the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons. 

Though Laurinaitis never got to win a BCS bowl as a starter, he had a spectacular career as he took home many individual awards, and was a three-time All-American. When evaluating who could be the next great linebacker at Ohio State, a guy named Ryan Shazier comes to mind. 

Whenever he got into the scheme of things as a true freshman last year, Mr. Shazier was pretty pretty productive. These highlights of him against Penn State are an example of his quickness, instinct, and sheer tackling ability: 

Through just five games this season, however, the sophomore out of Plantation, Florida has already racked up 48 tackles. That's almost 10 tackles per game! 

During Laurinaitis' sophomore season in 2006 he averaged about 8.9 tackles per game, recording 115 tackles through 13 games. This earned him the Nagurski Award, All-Big Ten selection honors, as well as consensus first-team All-American honors. 

Seeing as how the Buckeyes are banned from postseason play this year, if Shazier continues at this pace he will wind up with around 115 tackles on the year through 12 games.  

In conclusion, will 6'2" 230 pound stud continue to be this consistent throughout conference play? And if he does will the Buckeyes get enough national exposure for him to take home some hardware by seasons end?

It will be fun to watch him and find out! God bless, and GO BUCKS!!!