COLUMBUS, Ohio — There were two versions of Ryan Shazier, and each had roughly half a season to show what it could do.
One was completely healthy, freakishly fast for a linebacker and relied heavily on that athleticism to mask some issues in his understanding of the position.
The other was slowed by injury, robbed of some of that trademark speed, forced to both grind his way through the schedule while in pain and find ways to make up the difference mentally when not at his best physically.
Given the choice between those options, though, Ohio State would rather have the latter at its disposal given the way a banged-up Shazier finished the season after first feeling discomfort in the sixth game of the year — and then watching his production actually go up as the speed went down. But what it really wants is for Shazier to combine those two guys into one scary package as he rebuilds himself following surgery for a sports hernia, which could put him in line to become the program’s next elite player at a position that has churned out more than a few of them.
“The way I felt, it’s hard to even explain how bad it felt,” Shazier said. “I feel like it started around the Nebraska game [on Oct. 6], and I just kept trying to fight through it and do whatever I could to help the team.
Continue reading this article: Shazier finds silver lining in injury