This week at Buckeye Empire we will be previewing Ohio State’s defensive line. This has always been a strong position for the Buckeyes and it will continue to improve with Urban Meyer at the helm. Meyer is extremely passionate about the significance of good defensive line play. While watching the 2006 National Championship Game it quickly became apparent that Ohio State’s offensive line was no match for Meyer’s defensive line at Florida. Meyer has continuously said that their rotation along the defensive front was the most critical aspect of winning that game.
Since Meyer took over in Columbus, there has been no shortage of top defensive line prospects choosing to play for the Buckeyes. He makes it a top priority to recruit more players at this position than anywhere else on the field. His blue-chip recruits will be put to the test this upcoming season as the Buckeyes will be forced to replace all of their starting defensive linemen from 2012. One player that was not recruited by Meyer but hopes to contribute is redshirt sophomore, Chris Carter.
While attending John F. Kennedy High School, in Cleveland, Ohio, Carter was named to the All-Ohio team, as a second team selection. Despite this honor, he was considered to be a three-star recruit by most scouting services with the majority of his offers coming from MAC schools. Jim Tressel was always eager to take a risk in order to find the diamond in the rough and he did just that when he presented Chris with a scholarship offer. Carter quickly accepted and joined what would be Jim Tressel’s final recruiting class with the Buckeyes.
Chris has taken a different journey than most on his path to shine for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The night before National Signing Day, he was arrested on serious charges. It appeared that Tressel may have made a mistake by giving Carter a shot. Three weeks later, however, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence and false accusations.
Carter has been unable to catch his stride thus far, in Columbus. Weight has been a cause for concern as he has struggled to stay below 350 pounds. After redshirting in 2011, he was moved to offensive line upon the arrival of Urban Meyer. The transition did not go as smoothly as Meyer hoped for and he eventually moved Carter back to the defensive side of the ball. Urban told Chris that if he wanted to play football at Ohio State he would have to keep his weight under 340 pounds.
Chris has blossomed into one of the most pleasant surprises this spring, in Columbus. He has not only kept his weight down but he is getting reps with the starting defensive line. If Carter is able to follow in Johnathan Hankins’ footsteps, he could position himself to see a significant amount of playing time at defensive tackle – nose tackle in particular.
Tommy Schutt, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence will be the starting defensive linemen when the 2013 season begins, but Carter will see the field early and often if he maintains the pace that he has set for himself throughout the spring. At 340 pounds, he could make it extremely difficult for teams to run inside. Coaches can’t teach size and if Carter is able to learn the system and implement what his coaches are teaching him he could potentially become a great NFL player. Carter’s perseverance makes it easy to root for him. He has overcome adversity and proven that he wants to succeed at Ohio State. We wish him the best of luck this upcoming season.