The Ohio State Buckeyes struggled offensively in Week 2 against Hawaii, but the defense was a strong point, specifically secondary duo Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell. The two veterans have formed a dynamic rapport down the field and have shown early signs of brilliance in 2015.
With just two games under their belt, they have already put up impressive stats. Powell has claimed 14 tackles and one interception, with Bell amassing seven tackles, four passes defended and one interception. With a lot of young players in the depth chart, these two are leading the way for the next men up.
Powell is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his big personality on and off the field. During the national championship run last season, Powell was often quoted referring to his roommate and long-time friend Cardale Jones as his "son", something he hasn't given up just yet.
Me: I have a son My professor: Aww how old is he? Me: He'll be 23 in a couple weeks Professor: 23 weeks? Me: Nah 23 YEARS! S/o to 12— Tyvis Powell (@1Tyvis) September 14, 2015
The 6'3, 210-pound redshirt junior impressed as a freshman and earned a starting spot the following year in all 15 games. His career at Ohio State, up until the start of this season, included 124 total tackles, six passes defended and five interceptions, four of those in 2014.
Powell always seems to make big plays when it counts the most. His first collegiate interception came in 2013 against Michigan as they went for a 2-point conversion in a failed game-winning attempt. His knack for game-changing plays continued in last season's Sugar Bowl game against Alabama, when Powell picked-off Blake Simms in the end zone sealing the Buckeye win to move on to the national championship.
He was named defensive MVP for the College Football Playoff national championship game, having recorded five solo tackles, nine combined, against Oregon. His leadership on defense was not missed by his teammates as he was named one of the 2015 captains.
His leadership skills go far beyond the field, and extend to the classroom as well, where Powell was able to earn his degree in marketing in only 3.5 years. His work ethic was something he brought with him from high school, where the Bedford, OH native earned perfect attendance and worked his tail off to earn a scholarship to play football.
He takes his job on the football field very serious, but his off-field antics go deeper than just goofing around.
"There's so many bad things going on in the world that you can get sad about. There aren't enough good things. If I can get you to laugh one time, I've done my job for the day. That's how I live my life."
Powell is expected to head to the NFL after this season, and he is someone who will be missed by Buckeye Nation.
When Bell, a Georgia native, chose Ohio State on National Signing Day in 2013, the five-star prospect added instant value to the Buckeye secondary. He earned limited playing time his true freshman season, but made the most out of his opportunities.
His first season at Ohio State, the team was heading to the Orange Bowl to play Clemson in the first bowl game with Urban Meyer at the helm. It was a disappointing outing, with the Buckeyes finishing their season with a 40-35 loss, but Bell made a highlight-reel quality interception preventing a Clemson touchdown.
Following this great grab, and a strong offseason, Bell was a starting safety in 14 of 15 games during his second season with the Buckeyes in 2014. He had a record year with 91 tackles, six interceptions and one fumble recovery. His 91 tackles was the most recorded by a Buckeye safety since Mike Doss in 2002 with 107.
The 2014 championship season was capped-off with another bowl-game interception, this time against Alabama.The Buckeyes held a six-point lead with just under 10 minutes left in the game, with the Crimson Tide starting a drive at the Ohio State 23-yard line. Bell once again stepped up, forcing an interception, and stopping Alabama from taking the lead late in the game.
Heading into his junior season, Bell has already proven to be an effective tackler with great hands. All signs point to him having a break-out year and possibly earning looks from NFL scouts.
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With both Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell looking at having career seasons in 2015, they are the perfect secondary combination to help the Buckeyes repeat as national champions.