Ok so I hope everyone enjoyed my rundown of the Buckeye offense, now here's the defense!
Key returns from this unit are, of course, SR James Laurinaitis and SR Marcus Freeman. Both were sure NFL draft picks, but decided to return for their senior season. Laurinaitis was a First Team All-American, the Butkus Award Winner, and the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the team with 121 tackles, and was voted team captain.
Freeman was second with 109 tackles last season with 9.5 for loss. He also received the Randy Gradishar award for outstanding linebacker.
The question is who plays with these two? Last year the role was played by Larry Grant, but this year Sophomore Ross Homan and Sophomore Tyler Moeller will vie for the spot.
Homan took a medical red-shirt last season with turf toe. His freshman season Homan played all 13 games, and he had 28 tackles. Moeller worked as a reserve linebacker last season and recorded 8 tackles and a punt block.
Key returns from this unit include SR Malcolm Jenkins at corner/safety, JR Donald Washinton at corner, Jr Kurt Coleman at safety, and JR Anderson Russell also at safety.
Jenkins had 47 tackles last season and received the Arnie Chonko award for outstanding defensive back. He has been timed at 4.3 in the 40 meter dash.
Washington had 39 tackles last season and received the SAE award for outstanding player in Homecoming game.
Coleman had 64 tackles last season with 3.5 for loss. He also received the SAE award for outstanding player in Homecoming game.
Russell came back from knee surgery last year to post an impressing 63 tackles, 7 for loss, with 3 sacks.
Also in the hunt are Sophomore Chimdi Chekwa, SR Jamario O'Neal, and JR Aaron Gant, giving the team enviable depth at a crucial position. Chekwa had 30 tackles last year, O'Neal had 14 tackles, and Gant was hindered by a right foot injury.
Ohio State's most notable loss in this unit is Vernon Gholston, but plenty of talent still remains.
Defensive End JR Lawrence Wilson will return,and he will be joined by Sophomore Cameron Heyward.
In the middle JR Todd Denlinger and SR Nader Abdallah will return. Wilson redshirted last season after suffering a broken leg vs. Youngstown State. Heyward recorded 30 tackles last season with 9 for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Also helping at defensive end will be JR Robert Rose and Sophomore Thaddeus Gibson. Rose was also hampered by left and right shoulder injuries throughout the season. He started 4 games.
Gibson had 11 tackles with 3 for loss. Denlinger had 13 tackles with 3 for loss. He started five games, but missed three games with a knee injury. Abdallah had 19 tackles last season.
Sophomore Dexter Larimore and JR Doug Worthington will provide depth for the Buckeyes. Larimore was a red-shirt freshman who had 16 tackles with 5.5 for loss last season. Worthington had 24 tackles.
So theres the Defensive for Ohio State. Look for the groud this season because that's where Ohio State's defense will put you.
Look back for my special teams rundown!