4. College Football News Preview 2020: Ohio State Buckeyes Defense 3 Things To Know
– Even for Ohio State there’s a big talent hit to overcome. Of course the program just replaces top NFL prospects with more of them, and the recruiting has been among the elite, but …
Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, Malik Harrison, Damon Arnette, DaVon Hamilton, Jordan Fuller – all gone. In all, eight of the top nine tacklers are done. Five of the top six pass rushers are finished, and it’s going to take a little bit to put all the pieces back together for the nation’s No. 1 defense.
A great Buckeye D isn’t a given – the 2018 version allowed almost 1,300-more yards – but don’t expect a massive drop-off as long as the line comes together fast.
– The line doesn’t have another Chase Young, but it’ll be more than okay. The combination of Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison will be terrific pass rushers on the end. Plenty of others will be in the rotation, including veteran Jonathan Cooper – he could end up taking a starting gig. The ends are good, but the tackles …
The tackles have decent size, but is there a superstar ready to rise up? It’ll be a strength-in-numbers thing with plenty of good players to keep using on the inside to gum things up and keep the linebackers clean.
Malik Harrison is gone after doing a little bit of everything, but Pete Werner returns at one spot after finishing second on the team with 64 tackles. Tuf Borland is a big hitter who can play inside or out. The 240-pound Baron Browning is a veteran thumper who’ll have to hold off a whole slew of good-looking options for the rotation.
– Future first round draft pick Shaun Wade returns at one corner job, and then there’s work to do. The secondary will hardly be a disaster, but it will take a bit to find the right parts for the right spots. The versatility to play around with all three other jobs will help, but there should be a bit of a drop-off – it’ll take something special to be the No. 1 pass D in the nation again.