The Breakdown: Defensive Tackles

Completing The Breakdown's tour of the men Keith Jackson used to call the big uglies is a look at the Ohio State defensive tackles. Dexter Larimore is the only returning starter at the spot, but there is some young talent itching to see the field.

72 – Dexter Larimore
6-2, 310
Merrillville, Ind.
Career: An accomplished ceramics artist, Larimore is an artist in the trenches on the field as well. After a redshirt year in 2006, he stepped into the rotation in '07 to make 16 tackles, 5½ for loss. The former wrestler added 15 more tackles a year later before making five starts a season ago, totaling 20 tackles for Ohio State despite missing four games because of injury.

Standout Performances: Made a fumble recovery and a sack in the win against Wisconsin in 2007. … Sacked Michigan quarterback Chad Henne in the season-ending victory against the Wolverines. … Posted a sack against U-M for the second straight year in 2008. … Opened 2009 with seven tackles vs. Navy and four more vs. USC.

Honors And Accomplishments: Twice named the team's attack force player of the week as a freshman. … Was voted a team captain vs. Indiana last season.

Outlook: If Larimore stays healthy, he can become an All-Big Ten player. He has a good knowledge of leverage in the trenches thanks to his wrestling days and can hold the point of attack against a double team. He's one of the more underappreciated players on the team and should be a dependable starter in 2010.

Player Comment: "The biggest thing is leadership and being able to bring this team together. We've got a lot of talent on this team but we've got a lot of young guys so we've got to bring those young guys along. We've got to make sure they know what they're doing and make sure they know their responsibilities. If we can get this team together, we can be real good."

54 – Johnny Simon
6-2, 270
Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney
Career: Simon came to OSU a year ago five-star prospect and prep All-American, and it's easy to see why. He immediately earned playing time, making 16 tackles (3½ for loss).

Standout Performances: Recorded a sack and forced a fumble vs. Minnesota. … Made four tackles, two for loss, in the win at Michigan.

Honors And Accomplishments: Named the team's best first-year defensive player by the OSU coaches a year ago.

Outlook: Simon played in every game as a freshman and seemed to get better as the year went on, even earning time on crucial third-down situations. The freakishly strong Simon followed that with a great spring – making two sacks and scoring a touchdown in the jersey scrimmage – and looks ready to assume a starting role in 2010.

Teammate Comment: "We had a big rotation last year (at defensive line), and for him to step in was huge. I think getting that experience from last year is going to make him that much better this year. A lot of guys don't know about him, but they better be ready for Johnny Simon." – Cameron Heyward

53 – Garrett Goebel
6-3, 261
Villa Park, Ill./Lombard Montini Catholic
Career: Another former wrestler, Goebel came to OSU a well-rated four-star prospect in the class of 2008. After a redshirt year, he entered the two-deep a season ago but saw only spot playing time, making two tackles in 10 games.

Outlook: Given how Jim Heacock likes to rotate along his defensive line, Goebel figures to see more playing time in 2010. He won't be a starter unless injury hits, but Goebel has had two years to hone his technique and should be a solid reserve this season.

93 – Adam Bellamy
6-4, 295
Aurora, Ohio
Career: After earning three stars from Scout and leading his team to a state title his senior year, Bellamy came to OSU and redshirted last year. He made 1½ tackles for loss in the spring game in April.

Outlook: Bellamy came to Columbus as a bit of a project but has worked quickly into the two-deep. He has excellent size and a good motor, and though he doesn't figure to play a whole lot in 2010, he could see spot duty.

68 – Evan Blankenship
6-3, 288
Monaca (Pa.) Center Area
Career: Blankenship was an offensive lineman in OSU's class of 2007 who spent his first three years as an offensive guard. He moved to the defensive line midway through spring ball.

Outlook: Blankenship could shift back to the offensive line, but he earned a few plaudits after his move to defense so we'll list him here for the time being. No matter what side of the ball he plays on, the man with the silky voice is a depth player for the time being.

52 – Johnathan Hankins
6-3, 335
Dearborn Heights, Mich./Detroit Southeastern
Career: A two-time all-state selection and a three-star prospect according to Scout, Hankins made 85 tackles and 12 sacks a season ago. He was a four-year starter in high school.

Outlook: Though Hankins is listed at 335, he told in May that he was down near 315. If he can stay at that level, Hankins has a chance to be a contributor as a freshman, especially as a run-stuffing tackle.

Player Comment: "(Coach Heacock is) just pressing on me staying in shape and getting ready to play because he says I'm going to play early. It was really surprising because I always thought I'd have to redshirt, but the way last year's team looked and with all the guys who graduated, they said it would be good to come in and play early since they had a lot of people leave."

95 Don Matheney (6-0, 310): Matheney is space-eater in the middle, it's hard not to notice his body. The senior provides a large presence and is hard to move out of the trenches.

62 Jon Lorenz (6-5, 276): Lorenz is a sophomore who provides depth for the Buckeyes.

56 Dalton Britt (6-2, 275): Also an OSU wrestler, Britt maintains sophomore status.

Committed for 2011Michael Bennett, Centerville, Ohio, 6-3, 275; Scout's No. 5 DT in 2011. Considered one of the top 60 players in the nation by Scout, Bennett one of Ohio's best this season. He is a handful for offensive linemen at the prep level thanks to his size and quickness and could fill multiple roles at OSU.

Chase Farris, Elyria, Ohio, 6-5, 250; Scout's No. 9 DT in 2011. Farris is big and getting bigger, which is the No. 1 thing that stands out about him at this point. He looks to add refinement to his game before coming to OSU.

Joel Hale, Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove, 6-5, 295; Scout's No. 29 DT in 2011. Hale is the latest commitment to this group but is talented and has the potential to be a big, strong, athletic nose tackle.

2011 ProspectsKevin McReynolds, 6-3, 280, Washington (D.C.) St. John's College HS, Scout's No. 20 DE in 2011.

Top 2012 ProspectsSean Tompkins, 6-2½, 275, Bedford, Ohio; Dan O'Brien, 6-3, 275, Flint (Mich.) Powers Catholic.

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