COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier has decided to give up his senior season to make himself available for the NFL draft.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has brought life back to the Buckeyes program, and it all starts with his recruiting efforts. Meyer is landing top prospects all over the country and is in the hunt to land 5-star ILB Raekwon McMillan from Hinesville, Ga. The 6’2″, 243-pound recruit is the No. 1 ILB in the class of 2014 and has received offers from all over the country. College football analyst Barrett Sallee and 247sports.com National Writer Steve Wiltfong break down the latest on McMillan’s recruitment. Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com Read more Ohio State Football news on BleacherReport.com
On Tuesday, we debated who should be the frontrunner for Big Ten offensive player of the year. Naturally, we decided to turn our attention today to who should be the league’s defensive player of the year. And the race is even more wide open on this side of the ball with two weeks left in the regular season. Here’s who we see as the top four candidates right now, though others have a strong case as well:
Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier: He leads the Big Ten with 14.5 tackles for loss and paces the No. 3 Buckeyes with 88 total stops, to go along with 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Wisconsin LB Chris Borland: Borland is the clear leader of a Wisconsin defense that ranks just behind Michigan State. He has 80 tackles and four sacks, though he did miss the Iowa game and most of the Illinois game.
Nebraska DE Randy Gregory: The junior college import leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.5 and is second to Shazier with 13.5 tackles for loss.
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard: The best cornerback in the league, if not the nation, Dennard has three interceptions and makes the Spartans defense go by locking down his side of the field.
To the debate we go … Those are four pretty good candidates, and we haven’t even mentioned guys like Shilique Calhoun, Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, Ra’Shede Hageman, James Morris, etc. Has any player truly separated himself in this race at this point?
Austin Ward: This is about as crowded as a field can get for an individual award, and it’s a reflection that there has been some pretty good defense played in the picked-on Big Ten this season. This race is going down to the wire, and a strong case could be made for all of the four finalists — and the margin isn’t that wide between those guys and the next wave of defenders worthy of consideration. Shazier’s production and vital importance to an Ohio State team that has had to replace so many key contributors from a year ago pushes him over the top, but it’s impossible to ignore how much individual talent is lining up defensively in the league. Mitch Sherman: It’s still wide open. Each one of the four brings something unique. I’ve seen more of Gregory than the others, and he’s simply an athletic freak, though a better candidate to be the league’s top newcomer. Shazier is probably the best football player in this group; Borland is the best leader and difference-maker in the locker room. And while it’s often tough to consider a cornerback in this kind of company, Dennard is dominant in a way I’ve not seen from any player nationally at his position.
Brian Bennett: It’s incredibly difficult to decide between the top four candidates we named, and some other defensive players are also having outstanding years. …
Ohio State might have a relatively easy matchup against Buffalo to start the year, but there are a number of individuals who are under a lot of pressure to do well right away. After finishing with an undefeated record a year ago, the Buckeyes come into 2013 with incredibly high expectations. Anything less than a national championship will be considered a disappointment.
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is garnering a lot of attention heading into his junior season. According to Ohio State’s official website, Shazier has already been named to the Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski award watch lists, in addition to being listed as an All-American candidate by Phil Steele and USA Today. On Monday morning, Shazier was also named to the Butkus Award and Lombardi Award watch lists: Jr LB Ryan Shazier named to Butkus watch list & joined Sr G Andrew Norwell on Lombardi list #GoBucks @BuckeyeNotes pic.twitter.com/vp2qObuCLF — Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) July 15, 2013 The Butkus Award is given to the nation’s top linebacker, while the Lombardi Award is given to the nation’s best lineman or linebacker. There were 51 candidates named to the Butkus Award watch list and 107 named to the Lombardi Award watch list. Shazier was outstanding during his sophomore season, leading Ohio State in tackles (115) and…
Ohio State’s thin depth at linebacker got a bit thinner Tuesday night with the announcement that Luke Roberts, a sophomore linebacker out of Lancaster, Ohio, will be transferring to Harvard. Michael Chung of TheOzone.net broke the news on Twitter: Hearing that Ohio State linebacker Luke Roberts will be transferring to Harvard for the 2014 football season.— Michael Chung (@MChungOZone) July 2, 2013 Roberts was a 3-star prospect who verbally committed to the Buckeyes in July 2011 despite the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that was putting a cloud of uncertainty around the Ohio State program. Urban Meyer honored the previous coaching staff’s scholarship offer to Roberts when he took over four months later, and the Lancaster product stuck with the Buckeyes as part of Meyer’s first recruiting class in Columbus. According to Chung, the coaching staff loved Roberts’ work ethic on the field and his dedication in the classroom. That affection was reciprocated as Roberts…
Raekwon McMillan has appeared to be quite the Ohio State lean heading into the summer of the 2014 recruiting cycle, but one major SEC program could give the Buckeyes some issues moving forward. McMillan, a 5-star linebacker, has visited Ohio State multiple times, and the Buckeyes are the top team on his 247Sports interest list. A recent visit to Florida seems to have really caught his attention though, according to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com: “It was a great visit,” the ESPN 150 prospect said. “Haven’t been here in a while, so came back down here to talk to coach [Will] Muschamp and coach [D.J.] Durkin again. We just talked about coming to play here, filling Jon Bostic’s role, stepping in as the next middle linebacker to play under him, playing under a defensive coach, stuff like that.” Barlis reports that McMillan plans to
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s good enough news for a school when a coveted recruit such as Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) shows up on campus for a visit. But the Florida Gators got a double dose of good news from the nation’s No. 1-ranked inside linebacker during his unofficial visit on Saturday. He’s planning to return in one week. “It was a great visit,” the ESPN 150 prospect said. “Haven’t been here in a while, so came back down here to talk to coach [Will] Muschamp and coach [D.
Is it preseason All-America team season already? You bet it is. Phil Steele has issued his 2013 preseason All-America teams, and a total of 15 players from the Big Ten made the four squads. Let’s take a look: First team Michigan T Taylor Lewan Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier Ohio State CB Bradley Roby Second team Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Nebraska G Spencer Long Wisconsin LB Chris Borland Michigan State LB Max Bullough Third team Penn State WR Allen Robinson Wisconsin TE Jacob Pedersen Ohio State G Andrew Norwell Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard Indiana long snapper Matt Dooley Fourth team Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis Ohio State T Jack Mewhort Northwestern all-purpose player Venric Mark Some notes and thoughts: Lewan is an obvious choice for the first team, while Steele clearly sees the potential in Shazier and Roby after
Justin Hilliard sees the ball and runs to it. Then he delivers a crushing blow. That is the consensus on the 2015 Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker who already holds 20 offers. “Off the field, he’s nonchalant,” says his older brother C.J, who has several BCS offers, too. “On the field, he does not care about anyone’s body. He’s trying to kill you.” Hilliard played running back until eighth grade, when he became primarily a hard-hitting linebacker.