Three best defensive players for the Ohio State football team in 2024

As we head into the second week of Spring practice, we look forward to the season by ranking the three best Ohio State football players on the defensive side of the ball.

Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau (44) celebrates
Sep 17, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau (44) celebrates / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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1. Denzel Burke

Of all the guys returning on defense, perhaps there was no news better than Denzel Burke returning. Burke was First-team All-Big Ten last season. His numbers would confuse people who just look at the box scores of the game. But anyone who watched him knows he deserved it.

Burke deserves that honor because teams were afraid to throw his way. He locked up receivers all year long. He's the biggest reason why the Buckeyes had the best pass defense in the country. While he only had one interception, he had eight passes defended.

The secret about Burke is that he locks down an entire side of the field. That allows the rest of the defense to do what they need to do. Knowles knows that he doesn't need help in one-on-one coverage, so they can shade a safety elsewhere if needed.

Burke should be a first-round pick next year when he goes to the draft, but he wanted to come back to win a national title. He'd be the first corner to be drafted in the first round since Jeff Okudah in 2020. Burke is built in the same mold; he doesn't commit penalties and doesn't get a lot of interceptions. Yet, he's still extremely effective.

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These three players make the Ohio State football team extremely hard to move the ball on. They all would individually be the best player on most other teams in the country. Having them all on the same team is huge for a Buckeye team that is going all in for a national title.