Ohio State Football: Freshmen Linebackers Showing Huge Improvements

Ohio State has issues at linebacker.

Those issues stretch all the way back to the 2012 season—during Urban Meyer’s first year—when the Buckeyes needed to convert starting fullback Zach Boren to middle linebacker six weeks into the season.

Boren hadn’t played a lick of defense since suiting up for Pickerington High School Central four years earlier, yet he was a dramatic upgrade for the Ohio State defense.

Despite boasting All-American Ryan Shazier, last year’s linebacker unit wasn’t much better.

Meyer’s comments shared with Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors paint an accurate picture. “They don’t look Ohio State-ish,” Meyer said. “We’re nowhere near where we need to be as far as the expectation level of the linebacker play here. We need to get back to that.”

Early returns from spring practice indicate that two freshmen could be pulling Ohio State back to that level.

Darron Lee, the 6’2”, 225-pound redshirt from New Albany, Ohio, is leading the charge.

Lee was a lesser-known member of Ohio State’s 2013 class, overshadowed by more heralded linebackers such as 4-star prospects Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell.

This spring, however, Johnson is trying to fight his way into the two-deep rotation and Mitchell is transferring out of the program. It’s Lee, the former 3-star athlete who played quarterback in high school, who is earning high praise from Meyer.

According to Dave Biddle of…

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