Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier will lead a young defense in 2013.
Ohio State is replacing seven starters on defense, but that doesn't mean the Buckeyes lack star power on that side of the ball.
Sports Illustrated backed that up by placing cornerback Bradley Roby and linebacker Ryan Shazier on its Preseason All-America First Team.
Both juniors (Roby redshirted in 2010) will provide leadership to a unit that desperately needs it after losing John Simon, Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino to graduation.
Roby had a breakout sophomore year, leading the country in passes defended per game (1.73) while tying a single-season school record with 17 pass break-ups in just 12 games. Roby also recorded two interceptions (one of which he returned 41 yards for a touchdown), one sack and one fumble recovery.
The lockdown corner was also tremendous in run support, ranking second on the team with 41 solo tackles (and third with 63 tackles overall).
Roby has garnered a lot of attention this offseason, being named to the Thorpe, the Bednarik and the Bronko Nagurski Award watch lists.
He has also drawn a bit of negative attention.
Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch reported that Roby was arrested in late July for an altercation with a staff member of a bar in Bloomington, Ind.
A suspension is expected for Roby, but Urban Meyer is waiting for more details to emerge before finalizing the punishment.
Shazier also had a terrific sophomore year, leading the Buckeyes with 115 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. He also registered five sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception (which he returned 17 yards for a touchdown against Penn State).
Like Roby, Shazier has received a lot of attention. The third-year linebacker has been named to the Bednarik, the Bronko Nagurski, the Rotary Lombardi and the Butkus Award watch lists.
Even with Roby's pending suspension, both are expected to have fantastic seasons that could lead to an early departure to the NFL.
All stats via OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.