Commentary

Personnel Points: Buckeye revival

Another Ohio State player is poised for an NFL impact, while a young LSU DB rises

Updated: November 9, 2009, 6:54 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com

Earlier in the season, I was very impressed with Ohio State junior defensive end Cameron Heyward when I went through the tape of his game against USC. He's a big-game player, apparently.

Getty ImagesCameron Heyward's bull rush is the kind NFL coaches covet.

On Saturday, when OSU visited Penn State, Heyward once again showed how disruptive he can be when it all comes together. On the Nittany Lions' first offensive play, he registered a sack. That was just the start. He would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Lions for the rest of the game. What impresses me about Heyward is that more than relying on speed, as so many do, Heyward specializes in the power rush. At 6-foot-5 and 287 pounds, he has NFL size, so when he's able to get a leverage advantage on an offensive lineman, he can collapse the pocket with relative ease. When projecting what type of pro he will be, I see someone who has the makings of a very good 3-4 end with the ability to also wreak some havoc as a defensive tackle in passing situations.

They key is consistency. I've seen the guy dominate in big games, but Heyward can and needs to rise to that level every week.


To read about the new top CB in the sophomore class -- from Baton Rouge -- plus a rising Cardinal, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst