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Ohio State defensive tackle Ty Hamilton’s quiet leadership is about to make a sound

After a breakout 2022, Hamilton is poised to serve as a strong, consistent force for Jim Knowles’ defense.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Every day from now until the start of the season, Land-Grant Holy Land is highlighting Ohio State football players that you should be watching this season. Check out all of our ”Player to Watch” articles to get ready for the season opener against Indiana.

After his breakout 2022 season, senior Ty Hamilton proved he’s ready to step out of the shadow of his older brother and step up as a leader.

Ty’s older brother DaVon Hamilton was an All-Big Ten defensive lineman for the Buckeyes. He is currently a starting defensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Now, the younger Hamilton isn’t just looking to fill his big brother’s shoes. He’s looking to blaze his own trail.

Hamilton’s first start came against Northwestern last season. He had previously taken just a handful of snaps in blowout games, but Mike Hall Jr.’s ongoing injuries allowed Hamilton to make his way from deeper in the rotation to the starting spot, while Hall, Jr. continued to play as many snaps as he could.

This opened the floodgates for Hamilton’s confidence. He started in each of the last five games in 2022, culminating in a career-high three-solo tackles in the College Football Playoff against Georgia.

It also gave him something to tease his brother about, since the elder Hamilton didn’t start his first game until part-way through his fourth season and didn’t become a regular starter until his fifth year.

The younger Hamilton is poised to see a starter’s number of snaps this season — his fourth — at nose tackle. It’s a major win for the Buckeyes, who will benefit from Hamilton’s quiet, understated leadership style, focus, and strength.

It is something Hamilton has worked hard to earn and something the Buckeyes need on the field. As Jim Knowles enters his second season as defensive coordinator, he continues to look for ways to boost OSU’s defensive prowess.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Ohio State Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Hamilton could be one of the keys to unlocking a powerhouse defense. His quickness and reliability pushed him up the depth chart, but they also make him someone his teammates trust, an intangible quality with immense impact.

Last season, then-senior defensive tackle Taron Vincent described him as a “giant muscle,” saying, “I just know nobody’s going to knock him off the ball, so his gap’s always going to be sound.”

He’s a late bloomer, but if anyone can make up for lost time, it’s Hamilton.

Couple his physical strength with Hamilton’s quiet leadership, and he could be a huge playmaker for the Buckeyes this season. His hand skills, ability to get off blocks, and power to push the pocket could pose a threat to opposing offenses, who should be worried about his ability to break up passes and put pressure on the quarterback.

Keep an eye on him in this 2023 season. With Hall back to full form (and with Tyleik Williams in the mix as well), Ohio State is well-positioned to have a defensive line full of energy and momentum. If his hard work and playing time up to now is any indication, Hamilton will be a huge part of that.