Ohio State Football: Is Adolphus Washington the Next Cameron Heyward?

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJune 14, 2013

November 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (2) is sacked by Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Adolphus Washington (92) at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 52-22. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State is undergoing an overhaul of its defensive line after losing all four starters, with the focal points of this new group being highly touted sophomores Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence.

Spence may be the more hyped of the two, but don't sleep on Washington.

Both ends have a great amount of potential and will need to be outstanding if the Buckeyes defense hopes to regain its form after two subpar seasons.

While Spence gets the most attention, Washington has the ability to be just as dominant on the other side of the line. Washington got a chance to showcase some of his talents as a freshman last season and started to make a bigger impact as the season went on.

His size, at about 290 lbs., should remind Buckeye fans of Cameron Heyward, who was a dominant force himself during his outstanding career.

Heyward was a decent pass-rusher, but was more of a complete end, with the ability to rush the passer as well as hold the edge to stop the run.

Washington has some of that in him as well, though based on his performance in April's spring game where he recorded three sacks, he may have better pass-rushing skills than Heyward.

Like Heyward, Washington can be used either at end or tackle, allowing for the Buckeye defense to create multiple mismatches up front with its newfound depth on the line.

All the physical tools are there for Washington to have the same kind of impact that Heyward had. If that can happen, he has a chance to be the latest in a line of star defensive linemen that have gone from Ohio State into the NFL.

He obviously has to prove his worth in game situations, where he didn't get a lot of reps due to the veterans in front on him on the line.

But he's done his part early on to prove he should start opposite Spence, who was arguably the MVP of spring football.

The duo could possibly form one of the best tandems off the edge the Buckeyes have had in quite a long time.

They've had plenty of individual stars on the line in recent years like Will Smith, Vernon Gholston and Heyward. But Spence and Washington could form a very good duo up front.

It won't be a surprise if Washington can have the same type of impact that Heyward had because of how physically similar the two are.

The difference is if he can show the same motor that Heyward had that made him very tough to stop.

If he can, Adolphus Washington is going to cause just as many problems for opposing offenses as Spence on the other side.


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