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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
OSU being careful recruiting linebackers

By Brad Bournival

Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) and Lewis Neal (Wilson, N.C./James B. Hunt) gave their decommitments to Ohio State and left for what they hope are greener pastures at Notre Dame and LSU, respectively.

Texas A&M signee Tommy Sanders (Cordele, Ga./Butler Community College) could have been a Buckeye, but many believe the numbers game in regards to the NCAA sanctions kept him from becoming a linebacker at Ohio State.

So why have the Buckeyes slow-played a position that looks like a desperate need?

The answer is in the question. With such a young unit coming back, Ohio State can’t afford to miss.

Ryan Shazier is an All-Big Ten performer. Aside from that, the linebackers were under fire all season despite the fact the Buckeyes went 12-0.

Virtually everyone knows the two biggest names in the 2013 class for the Buckeyes are Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) and Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett).

Ohio State must feel good about its chances as it really hasn’t gone after much else at the position.

The Buckeyes flirted with junior college standouts Martrell Spaight and Auston Johnson a bit, but let Spaight sign with Arkansas and stopped recruiting Johnson altogether.

The other explanation if they don’t get Mitchell, Johnson and/or Christopher Worley (Cleveland/Glenville) is they see 2014 as the year of the linebacker.

Players such as Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty) and Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) highlight the class.

If Ohio State can grab all three or even just one, last season’s freshmen will be seasoned enough to step in and help the 2014 kids become even stronger.

While things might be maddening now, the future at linebacker might be the glue of the Buckeyes defense, even if the process of fixing it is snail-slow right now.