The Best of the B1G, #4 Ryan Shazier

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b1g_iconRyan Shazier comes in at Number Four in our Best of the B1G list. Ryan Shazier, outside linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes brings athleticism and a ballhawking mentality to the Ohio State defense. Ryan, a 6’2″ 222 pound junior will anchor Ohio State’s front seven, bringing the most game time experience and big play making ability to the unit. He averaged 9.7 tackles per game and accounted for five sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception last season. He was All-Big Ten and an honorable mention All-American in 2012 and has been named to the All-American First Team by SI.com. He is key to Ohio State’s success and has had two seasons of success under his belt with pressure to mirror his past accomplishments.

Ryan’s 2012 season seemed to start off slow. Not very “Shazier” like. While he did have double-digit tackles against UAB and Cal, he seemed out of sync. Unfocused. Overrunning plays (ahem), missing tackles (ahem) and simply finding himself out of place more often than not.

But that’s what you get with Shazier. He’s going to give you spectacular hits and you’re going to have moments of mental lapses. You take the good with the bad, because the good is VERY good and the bad can sometimes be covered up by the other ten players on the team. This was specifically manifest when Zach Boren moved over to LB. Boren’s move into the middle took some of the pressure of Shazier. He no longer had to compensate for the lack of a play maker in the middle of the field and was able to roam with a little more freedom and make big plays.

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Shazier played well and had his way with Nebraska but his real defining moment was against Penn State. A friend of Ryan’s lost his life and Shazier donned the #48 in his honor and went out and played out of his mind. Two huge sacks, an interception for a touchdown and his position as one of the best playmakers was cemented.

Technique and finesse are not his strong points. Shazier is at his best when he is able to rely more on physical abilities than mental ones. Shazier is no dummy. He can fulfill his assingments, be where he needs to be when he needs to be there but when he’s able to play with reckless abandon, he is going to hurt someone. But it’s also a testament to this coaching staff that Shazier showed steady improvement over the course of the season. His discipline was markedly sharper and he was in his spots and making plays where he should.

And when the time comes, he’s there to make plays that become defining moments of the 2012 season.

He is, hands down, the best linebacker in the Big Ten. If he continues his upward improvement and plays like he should he will also be one of the best linebackers in all of college football.

Previously on MotSaG’s Best of the B1G
#5 Taylor Lewan
Best of the B1G, #10-6
Best of the B1G, #15-11
Best of the B1G, #20-16
Best of the B1G, #25-21

Comments

  1. He should be no 3 IMO…. 🙂

    • I think he will end up being the B1G Defensive Player of the Year (beating out #3, Roby, because of his having to spend some time early in the season on the sideline).

      He’s sufficiently ranked 😉

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