Ohio State Football: How David Perkins' Departure Affects the Buckeye Defense

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IMay 31, 2013

Apr 13, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Gray team quarterback Cardale Jones (12) is tackled by Scarlet team linebacker David Perkins (21) during the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Scarlet team won 31-14.  Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After a few weeks of rumors, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer confirmed on Thursday that sophomore LB David Perkins has left the team.

Though Perkins' short Buckeye career will be remembered mostly for his tackle of Brutus during spring football, it takes away depth at a position where there isn't a lot of proven depth to begin with.

Perkins was expected to compete for the third starting job along with fellow sophomores Josh Perry and Camren Williams opposite juniors Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier.

Now with Perkins leaving the Buckeyes, the battle to start essentially goes down to those two. At this moment not including the incoming freshmen, OSU has just seven linebackers on the roster.

The Buckeyes are going to get a major influx of linebackers both this year and next, including incoming freshmen Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell, both of whom were heavily recruited and bring great reputations to Columbus.

It's not realistic to expect either to start as true freshmen, although both could step in immediately and provide some depth.

The issue that Perkins' departure does remind us is that Ohio State's linebacker play for the most part has been subpar for the past two seasons.

OSU has long been known as a linebacker factory, producing stars from Tom Cousineau to Chris Spielman, and more recently A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis.

To see linebackers struggle so much in the past two seasons for the Buckeyes, given the history of the position at the school, is shocking.

And it's hasn't been a spiraling slope downward, either.

The plunge of productivity from the unit as a whole has been very sharp and it just hasn't gotten near the level where it has been in the past.

Losing Perkins, although we won't know how good he could have been, doesn't help the position getting back on track.

OSU already has to worry enough with whether or not Grant will be able to recover after losing his starting job less than a month into the season a year ago.

The Buckeyes have to really hope either Perry or Williams can have a big season so they may begin to refortify the linebacker position in the coming year.

Shazier is the only non-question mark in the group. He needs someone else to join him there.


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