Thursday, June 13, 2013

Preseason All-Ohio Big Ten defensive team

Wonder how a team filled exclusively of Ohio players would fare in the Big Ten?

Well, it's June, meaning it's time to begin pondering the question. The conference's 12 schools all try recruiting Ohio, some with more success than others.

Combining Big Ten players from Ohio high schools would create an impressive team in 2013. We're unveiling the defense today. We're using a 3-4 alignment because picking just three linebackers proved too difficult. The offensive team appeared Tuesday.


DL: Marcus Rush (Sr., Michigan State, Cincinnati, Moeller) -- Has started all 27 games of his college career. Michigan State's top returning pass rusher with six career sacks.

DL: Frank Clark (Jr., Michigan, Cleveland, Glenville) -- This should be the year the 6-foot-2, 277-pound Clark becomes a full-time starter.

DL: Michael Bennett (Jr., Ohio State, Centerville, Centerville) -- Ohio State loses four starters on the line, meaning Bennett qualifies as the unit's most experienced player. Has appeared in 21 games during the past two seasons.

LB: Chris Borland (Sr., Wisconsin, Kettering, Archbishop Alter) -- First-team All-American candidate after a 104-tackle junior season. Biggest challenge might be adjusting to a new coaching staff.

LB: Anthony Hitchens (Sr., Iowa, Lorain, Clearview) -- A solace in Iowa's awful 2012 season, leading the Hawkeyes with 124 tackles in his first year as a starter.

LB: Denicos Allen (Sr., Michigan State, Hamilton, Hamilton) -- The Spartans play some stingy defense thanks to players such as the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Allen. Entering his third as a starter.

LB: Chi Chi Ariguzo (Jr., Northwestern, Gahanna, St. Francis DeSales) -- Great name. Great playmaker. Led the Big Ten with four fumble recoveries last season. Led Northwestern with 10.5 tackles for a loss.

DB: C.J. Barnett (Sr., Ohio State, Dayton, Northmont) -- One of the nation's best strong safeties and the most experienced piece of the Buckeyes' outstanding secondary.

DB: Christian Bryant (Sr., Ohio State, Cleveland, Glenville) -- Ohio State's free safety finished second on the team with 71 tackles last season. Has 22 career starts, two fewer than Barnett.

DB: Doran Grant (Jr., Ohio State, Akron, St. Vincent-St. Mary) -- Favorite to claim the lone open job in Ohio State's secondary. Plays cornerback.

DB: Nick Van Hoose (So., Northwestern, Urabana, St. Paris Graham) -- Tied for the team lead with three interceptions last season despite missing three games to injury. Should be a menace to opposing quarterbacks the next three seasons.

On the disabled list

Jake Ryan (Jr., Michigan, Westlake, St. Ignatius) -- Will likely miss the first half of the season after tearing his ACL in March. Led the Wolverines in tackles (88), tackles for a loss (16) and sacks (4.5) last season.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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