To say Ohio State’s defense is going to lose quite a bit is an understatement. The Buckeyes have six departing seniors on defense, and could potentially lose two more if Johnathan Hankins and/or Bradley Roby decide to leave early for the NFL.
At this moment, the only players guaranteed to return are LB Ryan Shazier and safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant.
If Hankins decided to leave early, the Buckeyes will have to replace their entire starting defensive line, which is no small task.
OSU has some depth up front with experienced backups Michael Bennett and Joel Hale, and talented second-year prospects Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt.
Spence, Washington and Schutt all saw action as freshmen in 2012, but Washington far and away was the most impactful player of the three. Washington will likely start at DT barring injury, and Schutt has enough experience to push for the other starting job.
Spence saw a lot of action during the season, but only had one sack in his freshman season, which came in the opener against Miami (Ohio). He may start at DE, but will need to become stronger.
The linebacker position is much more confusing even with one spot filled.
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