Most of the talk so far this offseason for Ohio State has been about who is going to take over at quarterback now that Justin Fields is heading to the NFL. A question that isn’t getting quite as much attention is going to be who takes over at linebacker after the graduations of Baron Browning, Tuf Borland, and Pete Werner?
Luckily the Buckeyes do have guys like Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell, and others itching for a shot to stake their claim to a starting spot. But is it going to be enough? Ohio State could use a little more depth at linebacker in case injuries happen or some of the current linebackers fail to live up to expectations.
If the Buckeyes want to bolster their depth at linebacker, all they might have to do is look to the other side of the football. After a tweet last week from offensive lineman Dawand Jones, the fine folks at Letterman Row explored the possibility of running back Steele Chambers moving to linebacker.
I’m just now watching Steele Chambers high school highlights definitely could’ve played defense— Dawand Jones (@dawandj79) February 10, 2021
While I’m sure the Ohio State coaching staff would rather keep Chambers at running back, especially after he has been in the system for two years already, the move would make a lot of sense if there came a situation in which the Buckeyes needed some reinforcements at linebacker. Coming out of high school in Georgia, some thought that Chambers would make a better linebacker than a running back.
Had the Buckeyes lost so many linebackers heading into last season rather than this season, it’s likely this wouldn’t even be a question since Ohio State had questions at running back after losing J.K. Dobbins. This season is a whole different story, because not only are Master Teague and Miyan Williams returning, but the Buckeyes also have highly-touted recruits TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor coming to Columbus.
Chances are we see Chambers stay at running back to start the year, but if it becomes evident that Chambers is going to be buried on the depth chart, we could see more rumblings about a position change — especially if the current group of linebackers aren’t meeting expectations. Who knows, maybe Chambers turns into the next Zach Boren, starring on both sides of the football for the Buckeyes.
If you are in Columbus right now and look outside, it’s hard to believe that baseball will be starting in just a few weeks. Earlier this week, the Big Ten revealed their schedule for the 2021 baseball season, which will see the Buckeyes open up against Illinois on March 5th-7th in Greenville, South Carolina.
One name Ohio State fans will be hearing plenty from this year is Seth Lonsway. The starting pitcher has been named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. The award is given annually to the best amateur baseball player in the country. Lonsway is just the third Buckeye to be named to the watch list, joining Alex Wimmers in 2010 and Josh Desze in 2012 and 2013.
Lonsway burst onto the scene in 2019, earning Freshman All-American honors after leading not only the Big Ten with 126 strikeouts in 92 innings, but also besting all Division I freshmen in Ks. Lonsway’s first start as a Buckeye came in his first game, toeing the rubber for Ohio State in the 2019 season opener.
Expectations were even higher for Lonsway heading into last season, and he certainly lived up to them in limited action, leading the country with 21 strikeouts per nine innings. Not only did Lonsway strikeout at least 10 batters in three of his four starts, opponents hit just .175 off of the southpaw.
A midseason watch list will be released by the Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board in April, followed by the semifinalists will be announced in June. The winner of the prestigious award will be revealed in July. Previous winners of the award include Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Trevor Bauer, and many other notable major leaguers. No Ohio State player has ever won the award, and the only Big Ten player to ever win the award was Michigan pitcher Jim Abbott in 1987.