Ohio State LB Shazier “leaning towards staying”

Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier told reporters on Friday that he’s undecided on whether he’ll return to school for his senior season, but said he’s “leaning towards staying.”

That would be a huge boost for the Buckeyes defense. He’ll have a tough decision to make following Ohio State’s Jan. 3 Orange Bowl vs. Clemson, though, as he’s a likely first-round NFL draft choice.

Shazier had an excellent season, one worthy of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors that went to Wisconsin senior Chris Borland. Shazier was the Big Ten’s leading tackler and has 22.5 tackles for loss and six sacks on the season.

Shazier switched his number from 10 to 2 after the Buckeyes lost safety Christian Bryant for the season in early October. His production picked up in the second half amidst Ohio State’s defensive struggles; he had 20 tackles against Indiana last month.

Whether or not that game will be his last in Ohio Stadium remains to be seen.

Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, a fourth-year junior, has already announced he’s entering the NFL Draft. Scout.com reported that junior wide receiver Devin Smith is returning to school, and quarterback Braxton Miller has indicated that he’s not sure what he’ll decide following the Orange Bowl.

Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier (10) pumps up the crowd during the fourth quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium. Buckeyes beat the Badgers 31-24.