Buckeyes making push for B1G Defensive POY

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Last updated: 11/07/2012 3:01 PM

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Football
Number of Buckeyes Making Push for B1G’s Defensive POY
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — There are only two games left in the 2012 football season for Urban Meyer and his first team at Ohio State. The Buckeyes struggled defensively early in the year, but they’re playing their best defense at the right time of year.

Sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier has won the Big Ten’s defensive player of the week award for his last two performances against Penn State and Illinois, but he’s not the only Buckeye who could be in the running for the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Here is a look at some of Luke Fickell’s guys who should garner some consideration for the all-conference teams at the end of the month.

John Simon
Photo by Jim Davidson
John Simon

DL John Simon (6-2, 263, Sr.) — Simon got off to a slow start to his senior season, but  he has come on strong over the last month. It started with the Nebraska game, but Simon has turned in back-to-back dominating performances against Penn State and Illinois the last two weeks. Despite playing with a number of painful injuries, Simon leads the Buckeyes with five sacks this year, which is tied for fourth-most in the Big Ten. He’s also fourth in the conference with 10.5 tackles-for-loss and he’s been a force in opposing backfields during conference play. He’s probably not going to finish with first-team All-Big Ten type numbers, unless he really has two big games to finish the year, but Simon is certainly playing at all-conference level right now.

Johnathan Hankins
Photo by Dan Harker
Johnathan Hankins

DL Johnathan Hankins (6-3, 322, Jr.) — How good is Big Hank? Well, there are only two defensive linemen in the entire conference with 50+ tackles right now, Hankins and Indiana’s Adam Replogle, a product of Centerville High School outside of Dayton. Despite being well over 300 pounds and playing defensive tackle, Hankins is third on the team in tackles right now. He also has a sack and four tackles for loss, but the numbers will never tell the whole story for Hankins. He simply makes plays on a football field that 300-pound defensive linemen are not supposed to make. He’s probably the most important player on that OSU defense, and a future first-round NFL draft pick.

Ryan Shazier
Photo by Jim Davidson
Ryan Shazier

LB Ryan Shazier (6-2, 230, So.) — He’s in his first full season as a starter at Ohio State, and Shazier is just two tackles away from becoming the first OSU sophomore to top 100 tackles since James Laurinaitis back in 2007. His 98 tackles are second most in the Big Ten, and he has won the conference’s defensive player of the week award the last two weeks. He’s tied for ninth in the country in total tackles, and leads the Big Ten in solo stops with 58. He is also second in the conference in tackles-for-loss behind Michigan’s Jake Ryan.

Zach Boren
Photo by Jim Davidson
Zach Boren

LB Zach Boren (6-1, 245, Sr.) — Boren isn’t going to fit into any traditional categories for the Big Ten’s all-conference team this season, but he certainly deserves some consideration for what he has meant to the Buckeyes. After 3.5 years as this team’s starting fullback, Boren hopped over to defense and became Ohio State’s starting middle linebacker midway through the season. He’s not going to finish among the conference leaders in an statistical categories this season, but he already has 29 tackles in just four games at linebacker. He’s also solidified an OSU defense that was on the ropes earlier in the year. He’s not a candidate to be first-team all-conference or anything like that, but Boren deserves some type of recognition.

Bradley Roby
Photo by Jim Davidson
Bradley Roby

CB Bradley Roby (5-11, 190, rSo.) — It can often be hard to quantify statistical success for a good cornerback, but not for Bradley Roby. Not only has he blossomed into one of the best young corners in the country, but Roby is filling up the stat sheet as a redshirt sophomore. He is fourth on the team in tackles this season and second in solo stops, behind only Shazier. He has two interceptions, a sack, a blocked kick, a punt recovery for a touchdown, and oh by the way, he leads the entire country with 18 pass deflections this season. If he’s not a first-team All-Big Ten corner this year, someone should demand a recount.

DB Christian Bryant (5-10, 192, Jr.) — A lot of people are going to be surprised to see Bryant’s name on this list, but they shouldn’t be. Forget some of the frustrations Bryant has caused OSU fans this year with his senseless penalties, his play has been among the best in the conference at safety this season. Bryant is second on the team in tackles behind Shazier and it seems like every week he is grading out over 90 percent on the back end of Fickell’s defense. He’s dropped a couple interceptions and made enough stupid penalties to keep himself out of the conversation for most people, but there are only four defensive backs in the Big Ten with more tackles than Bryant this year.

Check out the Offensive candidates.

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