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2020 tOSU Defense

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by ScriptOhio, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Sure Ohio State starters
    DE Jonathon Cooper – Cooper was supposed to break out last season on the opposite side of Chase Young, but a high ankle sprain in fall camp kept him out for nearly the entire season. He was never able to fully heal up, only played in four games and took a redshirt. Now back for a fifth season, Cooper will be a captain of the defense and one of the best leaders on the roster. He has plenty of experience in big moments, and he will certainly be huge for the Ohio State pass-rush this year.


    DT Tommy Togiai – Much has been made about Togiai’s strength, which always seems to come up when talking about him. But the third-year nose tackle has the agility to clog the middle of the line and be a dominant force in the Big Ten — and he might even have All-American potential. If Togiai takes the next step in his progress, Ohio State will be more complete up front.

    DT Taron Vincent – A jewel from the class of 2018, the former five-star prospect Vincent spent last year on the sideline with an injury. Now in his third season, Vincent appears healthy and ready to become a force at three-technique, a position Larry Johnson loves. Vincent has a huge task of filling the spot in the interior well. Can he live up to the five-star status from his recruiting days?


    DE Tyreke Smith – If Tyreke Smith can stay healthy and avoid bad injury luck, he will be a weapon for the Buckeyes on the edge. A gifted pass-rusher, Smith showed glimpses of his potential last season, but he was constantly held back by small injuries. If those days are behind him, Smith will be a monster for the Buckeyes — and the pass rush will see little to no drop-off from a season ago.

    Just sayin': Their 2nd unit (DL) could easily start for most other teams.
    brodybuck21 likes this.
  2. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Josh Proctor (JR): As a ball-hawking safety who has been compared to all kinds of game-changers on the back ends of defenses, expectations for Proctor are exceptionally high. Unfairly high? We'll find out this fall. The third-year safety is expected to get the first opportunity to replace Fuller at the back end of the Buckeyes' defense. A one-time top-100 overall recruit, Proctor has 14 tackles, three pass deflections and an interception in his first two years.

    Marcus Hooker (RS-SO): Mostly known because of his last name, Hooker wants to be separate himself from his older brother, Malik, and to do that he'll need to carve out a role at safety. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder was one of Fuller's top backups in 2019, along with Proctor and managed seven tackles in 82 snaps. He'll vie with Proctor for the opening as the starting safety.

    Ronnie Hickman (RS-FR): Somewhat forgotten by fans, Hickman shouldn't go under the radar. A torn ACL forced him to miss the entirety of his freshman season as a Buckeye, but he's only a year removed from enrolling as the No. 115 overall recruit out of New Jersey. Hickman was a big get for Alex Grinch and Greg Schiano, and after rehabbing his knee during the Hafley regime, he'll now try to impress new defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.

    Bryson Shaw (RS-FR): The former lacrosse star didn't get onto the field much as a true freshman, accruing two tackles on only six snaps. He redshirted, retaining all four years of eligibility. Shaw is currently stuck behind several others on the depth chart, but as only a second-year safety, he has plenty of time to rise.

    Lathan Ransom (FR): Ryan Day heaped praise on Ransom on National Signing Day, calling him "as good a safety as we've had here in a long time." Since Malik Hooker patrolled the secondary only a few years ago, that's obviously high praise, but it's backed up by analysts ranking him as the No. 167 overall prospect in his class.

    Kourt Williams (FR): One of the various hybrid linebacker-safeties the Buckeyes have targeted since Day took over, Williams' eventual position isn't known yet. Al Washington said he was working with the deep safeties during spring camp. Maybe his speed and leadership fit at the position, but his 221-pound body might eventually force him to play linebacker. Ohio State is giving him a shot to play safety first, though.
  3. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

  4. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    One Bold Prediction
    Josh Proctor will have the most interceptions for a Buckeye since Malik Hooker’s seven in 2016.
  5. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    No. 6 "bold prediction":

    ScriptOhio: Justin Hilliard will stay healthy and be a dominate linebacker, i.e. like everyone expected 5 years ago.

    Bobby Carpenter breaks down Justin Hilliard
    Justin Hilliard just kept working through adversity for the Buckeyes. His Ohio State career hadn’t gone the way the former five-star linebacker had hoped, but last year, he saw a glimpse of what he still can do for Ohio State.

    The sixth-year linebacker will be back for another chance at stardom, and he is expected to contribute for the Silver Bullets defense. The best might be yet to come for Hilliard.

    What makes Justin Hilliard such an inspirational story for Ohio State? How can the senior linebacker contribute on the field as well for the Buckeyes? Where is the best place for the Silver Bullets to use the veteran tackler? Former Ohio State and NFL star Bobby Carpenter was back at Lettermen Row in the film lab to answer those questions in the latest episode of BuckIQ.

    Roll the tape!

    Entire article:
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  6. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Birm: Buckeyes will have two more first-round draft picks
    Ohio State will have two more first round picks from defensive back group in 2021 NFL Draft. I don’t know if it will be Shaun Wade and Cam Brown, Shaun Wade and Sevyn Banks, Shaun Wade and Josh Proctor or exactly how it will shake itself out. But Kerry Coombs is going to add to his ridiculous scoreboard and put two more Buckeyes defensive backs into the NFL’s first-round pick fraternity, even after an abbreviated season in Columbus. The roadmap is there for a one-year star to make the leap to the professional ranks, and Brown, Banks and Proctor all have the physical talents to be the next dudes to do it. Which of them will join Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Denzel Ward? I don’t know, but I know one of them will.

    Sure Ohio State starters
    CB Shaun Wade: The lone returning starter in the secondary, Wade will have no choice but to be the leader of the Ohio State defensive backfield. He has shown up on every major all-American and award watch list this preseason, a sign that he’s one of the best defensive backs in the country. He came back to Ohio State to prove he is more than just a slot cornerback and his skills translate well to the outside at the next level. He was able to watch, learn and play alongside Damon Arnette and Jeff Okudah last season. Now reunited with Kerry Coombs, Wade will be the catalyst of the Ohio State defensive success.

    S Josh Proctor: There hasn’t been a better opportunity for Josh Proctor. His moment has arrived, and he’ll be tasked with taking over for the reliable Jordan Fuller, who graduated and moved onto the NFL. Proctor has all the physical tools to be a superstar, showing off his athleticism and range early last season. Minor injuries and a logjam in front of him in the secondary are gone now, and nothing is in his way. Can he finally become a breakout superstar at safety for the Buckeyes? It’s now or never.
  7. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Building a dynasty like the one in the Ohio State secondary obviously is a ton of work.

    Maintaining it might be even harder.

    The sky-high expectations have to be met each and every season if the Best in America moniker is going to stick, and that can certainly be a challenge to match when so many defensive backs are heading to the NFL every season. But the Buckeyes have a proven formula of recruiting at a high level, developing that talent into stardom — and then repeating it.

    “First of all, because they’re great players, OK?” Coombs said shortly after returning to Ohio State. “I’ve watched them. I recruited a bunch of them. I know who they are. I’ve watched them work out the last couple of days. I’ve watched their tape. These guys got to play a lot of ball last year, which is outstanding, right? The guys who weren’t starters, they get 250, 300 plays a football at high levels and critical games.

    “So, I’m excited about that. But I’ve had a good chance to meet with these kids. I know what they’re made of. A lot of them I’ve known from when they were in high school, and I’m very excited about them. Don’t worry about them. We’re going to be just fine.”
    brodybuck21 likes this.
  8. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    Even though the Buckeyes have lost Chase Young a year early, they still return five defensive ends who earned at least one start last year. Injuries have been an issue for many of the defensive ends on this roster, but when healthy this group should be the Big Ten’s best.

    Depth Chart

    18 Jonathon Cooper (6-4 257), rSr
    Cooper chose to redshirt last year in order to play this year. He’s got a lot riding on this season, not the least of which are the expectations he is still trying to live up to.

    54 Tyler Friday (6-3 265), Jr
    Friday has been a valuable member of the depth chart when healthy and is only getting better. Now in his third year, he should begin to produce the kind of numbers expected from a veteran.


    8 Javontae Jean-Baptiste (6-5 250), rSoph
    It took a bit for Jean-Baptiste to grow into his role — literally — but now he is able to combine his athleticism with a workable size and strength.

    59 Darrion Henry-Young (6-4 275), Fr
    Henry-Young is a year away at least and there is no burning need for him to be in the rotation this year.

    11 Tyreke Smith (6-4 267), Jr
    It feels like the only thing holding Smith back has been health and the depth chart. Now an upperclassmen, the depth chart should no longer hold him back.


    9 Zach Harrison (6-6 265), Soph
    Harrison is the next in line of great Ohio State defensive ends. Or maybe he’s just a sophomore with tons of promise still finding his way.

    97 Noah Potter (6-6 271), rFr
    Potter got his four games and held onto his redshirt. Now the only thing holding him back from seeing the field will be Potter himself.

    93 Jacolbe Cowan (6-4 275), Fr
    It’s going to be tough for Cowan to get snaps this year. He should get his three or four games and take a redshirt while working on getting stronger.

    2019 Stats

    brodybuck21 likes this.
  9. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    More than finding two new starters, the Buckeyes will also need to find two more options behind the starters in order to have the bare minimum of a 4-man rotation. The top four guys are all former Top 100 recruits, so it’s not like defensive line coach Larry Johnson is going to be cobbling together something that works. There is talent here and they have all played. What’s behind the top four is the bigger mystery.

    Depth Chart

    Three Tech
    92 Haskell Garrett (6-2 299), Sr
    Garrett was in the rotation with starter Jashon Cornell last year, so he has seen plenty of action. May not be the pass rusher Larry Johnson likes in this role, but he’s a veteran who understands the job.


    6 Taron Vincent (6-2 295), rSoph
    There were expectations for Vincent to come out of fall camp and challenge as the starter last year, but a shoulder injury ended his season before it ever began. Vincent is the kind of quick penetrator the position desires, but is he back to his best yet?

    90 Jaden McKenzie (6-2 290), rFr
    McKenzie could probably end up at either defensive tackle position. He played in just two games last year. They’ll need more out of him this year.

    83 Cormontae Hamilton (6-2 265), rFr
    Hamilton has moved over from tight end. Larry Johnson has liked him as a defensive lineman all along, which is encouraging. He’s athletic, but how soon will he be big enough?

    NA Ty Hamilton (6-3 250), Fr
    Hamilton is listed as a defensive tackle here because he was one of three ‘tweeners signed by Ohio State in 2020 and it didn’t look like either Darrion Henry-Young or Jacolbe Cowan would be suiting up on the inside any time soon. Hamilton also has the defensive tackle bloodlines, being the younger brother of former OSU nose tackle DaVon Hamilton. Doubt a Hamilton at your own risk.

    Nose Tackle
    72 Tommy Togiai (6-2 300), Jr
    Togiai has been good enough to find time in a rotation with Robert Landers and DaVon Hamilton. Now he’ll be at the tip of that spear and should be very, very good.

    52 Antwuan Jackson (6-2 295), Grad
    Jackson has been the unfortunate fourth wheel on the nose tackle bicycle. But now he should see regular snaps, provided he can handle them. He’s played both defensive tackle spots at OSU, so he’s athletic and versatile.

    55 Jerron Cage (6-2 299), rJr
    Even bikes with training wheels don’t have room for a fifth wheel. Cage hasn’t had much opportunity in his time at OSU, but as Tommy Togiai has shown, you can make your own opportunity and force the coaches to put you on the field.

    2019 Stats

  10. bukIpower

    bukIpower Senior

    Bobby has lost a lot of weight...very fit guy.
  11. ScriptOhio

    ScriptOhio Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.

    The confidence in the linebacker group to succeed this season does not end with the starters, as the roster features a plethora of talent outside the three guys at the top of the depth chart. For starters, Al Washington has at his disposal a trio of talented juniors that just haven't been able to see any significant playing time to this point, but are just waiting for their breakout moment.

    There has been much talk of Teradja Mitchell throughout his time on campus, and so I don't really even think he counts as a sleeper anymore. Coming to Ohio State has the No. 2 ILB in the country and the No. 44 overall prospect in the 2018 class, there has been a ton of hype surrounding the Virginia Beach native. Talked about as one of the hardest-hitting players on the team, Mitchell is the most obvious candidate to see additional playing time this season, maybe even similar to the role Browning played last year.

    Justin Hilliard is another guy who has been discussed a ton, but hasn’t gotten his expected amount of playing time as a result of numerous injuries. Hilliard was one of the top prospects in the 2015 class, rated a five-star recruit and the No. 35 player in the class. Finally healthy in 2019, the senior made the most of his limited opportunities, totaling three tackles for loss and making the game-sealing interception against Penn State. Returning for a sixth year, Hilliard now figures to be a prominent member of the linebacker rotation.

    Which brings us to the actual sleepers of this year’s unit. Sure Ohio State already has five guys at the top of the pecking order who will compete for playing time in 2020, but what if one or two of those guys were to get hurt or not meet the team’s expectations? Who could possibly step up and make a name for themselves?

    The first guy on that list is Dallas Gant. Another member of the 2018 class, Gant came to Columbus as the No. 10 OLB in the country and the No. 5 player in Ohio. The Toledo native has quickly become one of Ohio State’s most reliable players on special teams, but he is clearly looking for more in terms of defensive snaps. In very limited opportunities last year, Gant recorded three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and forced a fumble on the goal line to preserve the shutout against Cincinnati.

    Somewhat surprisingly, Gant actually played more snaps than both Hilliard and Mitchell in 2019, according to Eleven Warriors. With a similar play style to Browning, Gant has experience at both the inside and outside linebacker positions, but has been primarily practicing at the Mike spot since last season. As a rangier athlete than Borland, maybe Gant will be the guy that rotates in at middle linebacker on obvious passing downs. Either way, he is in line to become a starter in 2021 once the upperclassmen are all gone.

    The other sleeper to keep an eye out for is K’Vaughan Pope. Like Gant, Pope has spent the majority of his Ohio State career as a key contributor on special teams. He was another highly-touted athlete out of high school, ranking as the No. 9 ILB in the 2018 class. He saw the least amount of defensive snaps of any of the aforementioned players in 2019, but was still able to rack up 13 tackles and a pair of interceptions in his very limited role.
    bukIpower likes this.

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