Final countdown: Impact player No. 2
August, 30, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Training camp is over and game preparations have begun. The torture of the offseason is nearly over, and Ohio State's first game under Urban Meyer is closing in. Leading up to the opener against Miami (Ohio), BuckeyeNation will count down the 10 players who figure to have the biggest impact on Meyer's first campaign, closing in on the top spot with the most valuable defensive player.
- POSITION: Defensive end
- BASICS: The tireless, fanatical workout machine will enter his senior season with 263 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, which would likely still allow him to take a few snaps on the interior if needed. That probably won't be necessary given the depth the Buckeyes have up front -- and how much they're expecting from Simon on the edge.
- BY THE NUMBERS: Simon's statistical progression over his career is remarkable. Forget gradually improving, when it comes to tackles for a loss, he's essentially doubled them every year after starting with four as a freshman. The math isn't perfect since he improved from 8.5 as a sophomore to 16 last season, and it's going to be tough to keep up that sort of pace this fall. But it does provide yet another example of his nonstop pursuit of improvement.
- OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT: Simon may set the tone with his leadership and commitment, and his production certainly helps as well. But with plenty of support from his teammates on a deep, talented line, Simon doesn't exactly have to carry the load all on his own -- which could allow him to have an even bigger impact in the opposing backfield. Garrett Goebel will occupy blockers in the middle, Johnathan Hankins creates his own issues for offensive lineman at tackle and Michael Bennett can wreak havoc on the other end, so teams can't just focus attention on Simon. And that could create more than a few headaches for coaches and quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
- HE SAID IT: "It’s a tremendous honor to be a captain, especially being voted by your teammates. That means a lot. Proud of all the captains we’ve got, we have a great group of guys and it’s our job to lead well and be responsible this year. It's a great honor to be voted by teammates two years in a row. It definitely means a lot to me, to even be a one-time captain is an amazing opportunity and it’s our job to just go make the most of it." -- Simon on becoming just the seventh two-time captain in Ohio State history
Braxton Miller, Ohio State Begin Spring Drills
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35