Ohio State LB Shazier looks to cement first-round status

Ryan Shazier racked up 23.5 tackles for loss in 2013.

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Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is planning to use his March 7 pro day to cement his NFL Draft status as a first-round pick.

To do that he’ll need to follow up an impressive NFL Combine performance by wowing scouts with his short-area quickness. While Shazier did an eye-popping 42-inch vertical jump — which led all participants in Indy — along with a 10-foot-10 inch broad jump, he was dealing with a tweaked hamstring that prevented him from participating in the 40-yard dash.

“I’m really trying to master the start of the 40,” Shazier told FOXSports.com. “Those first 10 yards are very important. I also have been getting after some of my position drills that I’ll be doing there.”

Shazier, whose 23 ½ tackles for loss ranked for third best in the nation, starred in Columbus for three seasons before forgoing his final year of eligibility.

“I talked to my dad and I just felt that it was the time for me,” Shazier said. “I had a great college career. I didn’t have any serious injuries and I want to become the best player that I can. To be the best, you have to go up against the best.”

Shazier’s father, Vernon, works as the Dolphins chaplain, and has offered him advice and counseling along the way.

“He tells me every day to continue to be myself and continue to work hard,” the 6-foot-2, 237-pound linebacker said. “I have the ability to do everything I need to be great. He tells me to stay the same person that I’ve always been.”

Off the field, Shazier lives by three principles: faith, integrity and discipline. It’s not a façade, either. Shazier has the words tattooed on his right arm so that he’s constantly reminded of the foundations his family raised him by. 

“It’s one thing to be known as a good football player, but it’s another thing to be known as a good person,” Shazier said. “That’s how I want to live my life. All you have is your word and I just want to be known for my character.”

One of Shazier’s favorite memories during his time at Ohio State was switching his jersey number to 48 to honor his good friend. Friend and former manager of Plantation (Fla) High School football team Gary Curtis, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, had died in 2012. It was Shazier’s goal to keep Curtis’ memory alive.

“I have a many good memories from my time in Columbus, including the 12-0 season,” Shazier said. “That game was really special, though.”

Now as Shazier eagerly waits to hear his name called in May, he stays true to his beliefs and remains confident in himself.

"Teams should know they’re going to get one of the best linebackers they can get,” Shazier said. “I have other elements to my game that other linebackers don’t. If they pass on me they’ll regret it for the rest of my career.”