Ohio State Football Recruiting: Trey Johnson Set to Anchor Buckeyes Defense

Marques EversollAnalyst IJanuary 21, 2013

Urban Meyer's fingerprints are all over this Ohio State team.
Urban Meyer's fingerprints are all over this Ohio State team.Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Urban Meyer is among the best recruiters in college football, and he is in the process of bringing an SEC-style football team to Ohio State.

Meyer's first season as head coach at Ohio State went as well as it possibly could have. Banned from playing in any postseason competition, the Buckeyes went undefeated in the regular season nonetheless.

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller took a giant step forward as a sophomore, rushing for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns as well as throwing for 2,039 yards and 15 scores. The offense is in good hands for the next couple years with Miller under center.

But on the defensive side of the ball, Meyer is on the recruiting trail to try and bring a dominant defense to Columbus.

Last season, the Buckeyes ranked 36th nationally with 359.6 total yards allowed per game. They ranked 32nd in the nation in scoring defense, giving up an average of 22.8 points per game.

Defensively, Ohio State took a small step back from the 2011 season, when they ranked 27th nationally in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed.

If the Buckeyes hadn't been dealing with a postseason ban this season, they would have played for the BCS National Championship. But if they want to compete at the highest level on a regular basis, the defense will need to maintain its position among the best in the country.

This season, the Buckeyes defense was led by sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier. As an undersized but highly-athletic linebacker, Shazier is able to make plays from sideline-to-sideline, in pass coverage and against the run.

Shazier led the team with 114 total tackles this season.

And in their most recent recruiting class, the Buckeyes landed another potential tackling machine in Trey Johnson. Listed at 6'1" 222 pounds, Johnson is cut out of the prototypical mold for a weak side linebacker. Shazier, for instance, was listed at just 205 pounds when he arrived on campus, although he's now listed at 226 pounds.

Johnson, the 4-star linebacker from Georgia, could help the Buckeyes immediately next season. In high school, Johnson played primarily in the middle, which may be his best chance at early playing time given the fact that Shazier is still a force on the weak side.

But a couple years down the road, Johnson could be the anchor of the Ohio State defense.

Former Buckeye linebacker Brian Rolle stood only 5'10" but was the key cog in the middle of the defense during his time in Columbus. Johnson still has plenty of time to bulk up, but even if he stays around 225, his instincts and quick hips will allow him to be successful at the college level.

Meyer hopes to overwhelm his B1G opponents with a stifling defense and a diverse offense. He's been a Buckeye for about 14 months, and it is already impossible to ignore the effect he's had at Ohio State.