An essential part of Ohio’s defense in 2021 was its linebackers, and that is no different this season. The linebackers made a good number of Ohio’s stops, and it will be relying on them again this season.
Here is a breakdown of Ohio’s linebackers for the 2022 season:
Ohio is retaining most of its linebackers from the 2021 season. In fact, the ones that are leaving aren’t actually gone, they just switched positions. A handful of them shuffled to other defensive positions, including Ben Johnson, who is listed as a safety this season and Jack McCrory, who is now listed as a defensive end. As a linebacker last season, McCrory had 28 tackles, four of them for a loss.
In addition, Bryce Kitrell, who played in one game last season as a linebacker, is now listed as a running back on the roster. Kitrell rushed for 3,512 yards and 43 touchdowns in high school, so his presence may be felt more at that position this season and may be a reason why made the switch.
Ohio’s linebackers are some of the players who made the most stops on defense, and a lot of them are back this season. Bryce Houston, who was a big part of Ohio’s defense in 2021, is returning to the team. Houston led the team with 53 solo tackles and 104 total tackles, which was by far the most.
Cannon Blauser, who had the second most total tackles, is also returning. The linebacker had 38 solo tackles and 48 assisted tackles, bringing his total to 86. Blauser had the most tackles for loss, with 9.5 for 29 yards.
Also returning is Caden Campolieti, Kyle Kelly and Keye Thompson.
Quintell Quinn, CJ Hankins and Shay Taylor are all linebackers that will be seeing the field for the first time. Each of them redshirted last season and will be eager to take the skills they have learned over the past year and apply them to the game.
Because many of Ohio’s linebackers are back from last season, this year’s class is more experienced than years past. It won’t take much, or long, for them to be ready to make stops on the field.
However, with new defensive coordinator Spence Nowinsky, there is still a possibility that things could be different than last year. Especially with Houston and Blauser, the linebackers will still be strong.