Who Emerges on the Ohio State Defense?

Ohio State’s trademarked “Silver Bullets” look to find more emerging stars in the 2020 season.

Ohio State has been an NFL factory over the last few seasons. Guys like Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Denzel Ward, and Marshon Lattimore all are standout defenders at the next level. Then you also have guys such as Chase Young and Jeff Okudah who could fit right into that category soon enough.

Even then, you’re just talking about the stars and guys who forwent an extra year of eligibility to enter the NFL early. That doesn’t include countless solid defenders and guys who played all four years, so to say Ohio State has become a defensive factory is not some outlandish statement. That begs the question, who is next? Here are three likely candidates.

DL – Zach Harrison (Sophomore)

Zach Harrison, the former five-star recruit and local product from Olentangy Orange High School is not at all a surprising breakout candidate. Despite not early-enrolling and arriving in the summer, he still worked his way onto the field for the Buckeyes in 2019 recording 24 total tackles including five for loss and three and a half quarterback sacks.

He clearly showed why his potential was as high as it was coming out of high school after putting up those numbers with not even three months of on-campus preparation. Larry Johnson‘s “Rushmen” group certainly utilizes a bunch of defensive linemen and despite being listed as a backup to junior Tyreke Smith, you have got to think Zach is almost the Buckeyes “fifth” defensive lineman and should see snaps on both defensive end sides and perhaps some snaps in the middle.

I wouldn’t expect any crazy jump in statistical numbers this year, but watch for him to establish himself as perhaps the next great Ohio State pass rusher.

FS/CB- Lejond Cavazos (Freshman)

Lejond, the once commit-then de-commit-then recommit once again appears to be finding his place in Kerry Combs defensive back room this fall. The true freshman appears second on the depth chart at free safety, which some believe is not even his true position.

The San Antonio native who transferred to the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida to finish out his high school ball played both corner and safety for the Ascenders, showing that he has at least some versatility. While we have not seen him yet in a Buckeye uniform, he appears headed in the right direction being on the two-deep depth chart, ahead of fellow incoming freshman and true safety Lathan Ransom.

CB – Sevyn Banks (Junior)

Perhaps the most memorable moment of Banks two-year stint with the Buckeyes thus far is plucking a blocked punt out of the air blocked by fellow class of 2018 member Chris Olave 33 yards for a touchdown in the 2018 beatdown of Michigan, but Banks is out to prove this year he can play on the edge as well.

He doesn’t have a ton of experience in playing time at corner but has made three career pass breakups and one interception. He is the near de-facto starter opposite Shaun Wade and is looking to play well on a Buckeyes defensive that has loads of experience in the front seven and although talented, inexperienced in the back four.

The Orlando, Fla. product will look to bring his playmaking skill set to the table, and make plays on a Buckeyes defense that really will need him to step up this year.