Perry Producing For Buckeyes This Season

Tasked with replacing first-round pick Ryan Shazier this season, junior linebacker Joshua Perry has filled that hole admirably.

Joshua Perry entered the season with a huge responsibility. The junior was replacing the departed Ryan Shazier, the No. 15 pick in last year’s NFL Draft and the Buckeyes leading tackler each of the past two seasons.

Prior to the season head coach Urban Meyer called for better, more balanced production from the linebackers this season.

“It's about time we played linebacker the way Ohio State is used to,” Meyer said at Big Ten media days in August. “I think you're going to see it this year.”

Perry has done his best to show that, and the Olentangy High School product has lead a unit that has improved from top to bottom this season despite the loss of their leader from a year ago. Perry has 99 tackles and it is all but assured he will pass the 101 Shazier managed last year. The junior said he wasn’t surprised by his season so far, though he did add the defense still has room to improve.

“I anticipated on playing at a pretty high level just because of the goals I set for myself,” Perry said. “The amount of preparation and work that I put into it, I just wanted to be really successful. I wanted to be able to contribute to the team and I know that for me to be able to contribute the way that I wanted, I had to be able to play at a high level. We got really, really good leadership and guys that have been really helpful and I think that our coaches do a really good job of preparing us.”

Perry managed 14 tackles last week against Indiana, his second highest output this season, and his first tackle Saturday against Michigan will allow him to reach the century mark in his junior year.

“I didn't even know that, that's news to me,” Perry said when informed of the milestone Monday. “That's actually pretty cool. I just wanna play well, like I said earlier, because of the guys that we have. I want everybody to be successful and I want to be on a really good defense. I've seen really, really good defenses play here, I grew up watching the Buckeyes and I just want to be a part of something like that.”

Perry was named a defensive champion by head coach Urban Meyer for his efforts each of the past two weeks, but as a unit the Buckeyes defense has been inconsistent this year. As one of the defensive leaders, Perry put some of that on him and said that the Silver Bullets are close to where they need to be.

“We're getting really close to our goals and what we want to be,” Perry said. “We just have to make sure that we can eliminate some of the bigger plays. Communication's going to be a big thing for us moving forward and just the whole preparation aspect for it too.”

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