Shazier, Barnett, Considered for Top Awards
By Rob Ogden
Ohio State announced Monday that two of its premier defensive players have been named semifinalists for two of the college football's premier awards.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier is one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given annually to the country's most outstanding linebacker, and senior safety C.J. Barnett was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, given to college football's top defensive back each season.
Shazier leads the Buckeyes with 66 tackles and is tied for the Big Ten lead with nine tackles for loss.
Shazier graded out as a defensive champion for his 10-tackle performance against Penn State on Saturday, and coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Shazier is one of the best blitzers in America.
He led the Buckeyes with 115 total tackles as a sophomore in 2012, becoming the first Ohio State sophomore to record more than 100 tackles since James Laurinaitis did so in 2006.
Laurinaitis was the last Buckeye to win the award, doing so as a junior in 2007. Andy Katzenmoyer became the first Ohio State player to win the award, handed out since 1985, in 1997.
Wisconsin senior Chris Borland, Buffalo's Khalil Mack and Cal's Khairi Fortt also made the cut.
Finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 26, and the winner will be named Dec. 10.
C. J. Barnett
Photo by Jim Davidson
Barnett, a fifth-year senior, has started more games than any other Buckeye currently on the defensive side of the ball.
The Dayton native ranks third on the team with 39 tackles this season, and since 2011 has more tackles than any Buckeye with the exception of Shazier.
Twice this season has he led Ohio State in single-game tackles. He also has an interception.
In 1998, Antoine Winfield became the first Buckeye to win the award and Malcolm Jenkins became the second to do so 10 years later.
Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard was also a semifinalist for the award, which dates back to 1986.
Finalists for the award will be announced Monday, Nov. 25 and the winner will be named at the College Football Awards Show Dec. 12.
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