It's been a decade of dominance for the Buckeyes, especially at the linebacker position. From Wilhem to Hawk to Laurinaitis, there has been some serious hardware collected in the 2000's. Those names don't even include consistent players like Cie Grant, Robert Reynolds, Bobby Carpenter, and Marcus Freeman. It's hard to imagine anyone in the country boasting a better combination of quantity and quality.
As Buckeye fans we love watching the linebacker position, and at times they become the rock stars of the team. Any given Saturday in the fall, the Shoe is filled with overzealous fans still wearing jerseys with the numbers 47 and 33 on them. Yet the star of this year's linebacking core, Ross Homan, hardly gets the recognition he deserves. I mean seriously, the team shop doesn't even sell his jersey.
Understandably, both Terrelle Pryor and Cameron Heyward grab most of the limelight, but in many Buckeye circles even Brian Rolle gets more publicity than Homan. No offense to Rolle, but after last year it's pretty clear that he is the second best linebacker on this team. Homan's stat sheet was easily the most impressive of any defensive player on the roster. He led the team with 108 tackles (57 solo compared to Rolle's 37), while recording five tackles for loss and a ridiculous five interceptions. He was a 2nd-Team Big Ten performer and is easily a front runner for 1st Team in 2010. So, where is the love for Ross Homan?
Last year he exploded onto the scene in the second half of the season. After a slow start early on he recorded 15 tackles against Wisconsin, 10 against Penn State, 12 against Michigan, and 12 more against Oregon. Not to mention that he had an interception in four of the last five games. That level of play against OSU's top competition started to make scouts take note. In fact, SI's latest article on NFL Draft grades for seniors said this:
"Ross Homan/LB/Ohio State/6.3: Many in the scouting community think Homan is a better NFL prospect than former Buckeye star James Laurinaitis."
And, it's not exactly like Laurinaitis is struggling at the next level either.
So it may just be time for more Buckeye fans to jump on the Ross Homan bandwagon. If he continues his momentum from the end of last season, you can plan on him having some hardware thrown his way. He already is one of the foundational pieces on the defense and will be one of the main reasons the Buckeyes contend for another national title. On a greater level though, he's continuing a rich decade of linebacker greats.