Ohio State Football: Who Will Replace Ryan Shazier in Starting Lineup in 2014?

Over the past two seasons, linebacker Ryan Shazier piled up 258 total tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, seven forced fumbles and an interception. He earned All-Big Ten first-team honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons while leading the Ohio State defense.

With Shazier off to the NFL, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes face the enormous challenge of finding his replacement.

Next in line for Ohio State is soon-to-be sophomore Trey Johnson, who was Shazier’s primary backup last year.

Johnson played sparingly for the Buckeyes in his first year, recording 11 tackles and a quarterback hurry in spot duty. But while he didn’t make a huge impact on the field, the coaching staff loved the way he picked up the defense, according to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer.

Learning the intricacies of the scheme is one of the biggest hurdles for young defenders, so it bodes well for Johnson that he caught on early. He certainly has the skill set to be an outstanding linebacker for the Buckeyes.

Johnson was a 4-star prospect out of Lawrenceville, Ga., who chose Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC, among others. According to his 247Sports profile, Johnson recorded 304 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his final two seasons at Central Gwinnett High School.

The battle for the “Will” linebacker spot Shazier vacated was expected to be a fierce position battle this spring, but Mike Mitchell’s…

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