Ohio State Football: Linebackers ready for rebound season?

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 8: Tyler Natee /

One unit on the Ohio State football team that must perform at a higher level during the 2018 season than they did last year is the linebacker corps.

Every unit in the Ohio State football program has pressure to perform.  The linebacker corps might be feeling a little more than usual this year.

After a season in which no linebacker made first, second or third-team All-Big Ten, major improvement is needed if this defense wants to become elite again.

The spotlight is on Bill Davis to get his guys playing at a level consistent with players like Ryan Shazier, Joshua Perry, Darron Lee and Raekwon McMillan.  That’s the expectation at Ohio State.

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Can they make the leap from good to great with three new starters?

I realize it is a little misleading saying this unit will have three new starters given that Tuf Borland, Malik Harrison and Dante Booker have all started and played many games.

My concern is with Borland rehabbing his Achilles and Booker’s tendency to get injured, there is no certainty that either will make an impact this season.

This opens the door for young bloods like Baron Browning, Pete Werner and Keandre Jones to rise up and become the new stars.

I expect these players to seize their opportunity to either start or be part of a rotation similar to the defensive line should Borland and Booker be healthy and ready in September.

Fortunately, Davis has a couple of games to work on the best combinations before heading to Dallas to take on TCU.

That game will show us how much the unit has improved year-over-year.

The Silver Bullets allowed 19 points-per-game in 2017 finishing No. 15 in the FBS.

Alabama allowed 11.9 and Clemson allowed 13.6.  I think the defense needs to get their number in this range to win another national championship.

Next: Ohio State Football: Early preview of 2018 schedule

To do that, the linebackers have to play to their potential.