An undefeated season in 2012 won't end in a bowl game for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but it does lead to a very promising 2013 with many elite players who'll vie for major awards.
Urban Meyer has yet to lose a game in his tenure with the Buckeyes, and though that's likely to change next season, it won't be because of these players.
Let's take a look at the Buckeyes who will tear it up in 2013 en route to major contention for national awards.
Bradley Roby, Cornerback
Let me start by saying cornerback Bradley Roby may not even be returning to the Buckeyes in 2013, as he's facing a decision on whether to enter the NFL draft.
But should Roby stay for a potential championship run, the Ohio State defense will be downright scary with the upcoming redshirt junior leading the way.
This unit will be fast and talented but could lack experience, which is why Roby's presence is very important to Meyer's squad. He finished third on the team in tackles with 63 and led the team with 19 passes defended.
If Roby returns, he'll be one of the nation's best cornerbacks with his blistering speed (he ran a 4.31 40-yard dash) and defensive instincts. He'll also be in contention and one of the favorites for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in the country.
Braxton Miller, Quarterback
After a blistering start to the season, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was often mentioned as one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. And while injuries and a small dip in play affected his 2012 campaign, he'll be one of the favorites in 2013.
Miller had six 100-yard rushing games in 2012, a statistic that would be darn-near impressive even for a running back. But considering he was able to also toss 15 touchdowns with six interceptions, it makes it all that more unreal.
He has a real ability to tear up the stat sheet, which is a must for any true Heisman contender. Miller also has a coaching staff that believes in him and an offense of which he's been a featured part for two years.
With Miller's immense experience for just an upcoming junior and his exciting 2012 season, expect him to be on that front row in New York City come next December.
Ryan Shazier, Linebacker
In just his sophomore season, Ryan Shazier inflicted pain and fear into Big Ten wideouts' minds, and he'll do even more of that in 2013.
Shazier led this Buckeyes defense in tackles and finished second on the team in sacks. He nearly reached the century mark in tackles on the season with 98.
Although Roby will be a lockdown corner on the perimeter for the Buckeyes next season, they'll need stability and a leader in the middle. That's exactly what Shazier brings to the table, and he'll assert his dominance even further next season.
Expect Shazier's name to come up early and often in the talk for the 2013 Dick Butkus award, given to the nation's best linebacker.
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