Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/29/13
There’s no arguing that defense wasn’t exactly the strong suit for the undefeated 2012 Ohio State Football team. The Buckeyes were ranked 34th overall in total defense, while allowing opponents to score an average of 22.6 points a game. It’s a good thing the offense was able to score 37.2 points a game. For comparison purposes, Alabama (the nation’s top ranked 2012 defense) only allowed 10.9 points a game. It’s safe to say the 2013 Buckeyes have some work to do. The Buckeyes lost seven starters on defense, eight if you include the Week 1 suspension of CB Bradley Roby. With a plethora of new faces and names on the field, here’s my three defensive stars to watch: Noah Spence As a true freshman in Urban Meyer’s inaugural season, Spence played in 11 of 12 games, racking up 237 defensive plays despite the immense talent ahead of him on the depth chart. That being said, Spence has some large shoes to fill. The 6-foot-3, 252 lb. lineman is taking the place of John Simon, a senior leader and captain last season for Meyer and the Buckeyes. Meyer and Line Coach Mike Vrabel have called upon Spence to be the ring leader of the defensive line this year, seeing as the four starters from last year have either graduated or moved on to the NFL. That covers the line, now lets move to the linebackers. Ryan Shazier As the only returning starter from the front seven last year, the spotlight is on LB Ryan Shazier, and it’s bright. Meyer has put a lot of faith in the junior linebacker, naming him a captain for the upcoming season. Shazier led the B1G Ten in tackles for a loss last season (17) and came in second in total tackles (115). The Ohio State program has been blessed with terrific linebackers, such as James Laurinaitas and AJ Hawk, and Coach Meyer expects Shazier to be a big name as well. CJ Barnett  On a defense that only houses four seniors, every bit of leadership and experience counts. S CJ Barnett is one of three returning members to the secondary, and will be the key to the success or failure of the secondary. The fifth year senior has started more games than any Buckeye on defense (24) and has 131 tackles in the last two seasons, second on the team to Shazier (172). Barnett led the defense in 2011 in tackles with 75, so he’s no stranger to the field. However, young players alike will look up to Barnett (also a team captain), and his leadership on the field could make or break the teams success.  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre completes cycle, gets mad when assaulted

Gruden had to convince Dan Snyder to bench RG3

Jim Mora turns P. Diddy fight into recruiting pitch for UCLA

Illinois releases results of women's basketball probe

Richie Incognito named starter by Rex Ryan


DeMarco Murray isn't thrilled Eagles limited reps in practice

Brandon Weeden: 'God forbid I am forced to play' for Dallas

Ben Roethlisberger: Markus Wheaton is ready to break out

Aaron Hernandez tipster allegedly had sexual relationship with him

Rookie WR Tyler Lockett has Pete Carroll, Seahawks gushing

Packers TE returns to practice in wake of family tragedy

WATCH: Giants players fight during training camp

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger Woods on Twitter

Report: Rousey to star in film based on her autobiography

Porn star offers to cook meal for any sports champion

Why everyone is wrong about Cowboys Tony Romo, Part 1

Oregon was only team drug tested during CFB Playoff?

Five 2nd year NBA players ready to take the next step

John Daly wants to be US Ryder Cup captain

Rodgers appears in another Olivia Munn workout video

Matt Hasselbeck is still getting random drug tests

Five teams that won at the MLB trade deadline

What should be expected from Aaron Rodgers in 2015?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker