Ryan Shazier joined the Ohio State football organization as a different kind of linebacker. His cornerback build was cause for considerable debate.
His star began to shine at Columbus, but many football fans wondered if such an undersized player could hold his own against the giants of the National Football League. There was a lot of discussion about whether his added weight would effect his exceptional speed and power. Shazier himself wondered if any additional pounds would amount to nothing more than "sloppy weight".
These questions became real issues during the recent NFL scouting combine.
Shazier made a good impression on league executives by weighing in at 237 pounds. This is about fifteen pounds more than last season, and his workouts were impressive as well.
A strained hamstring kept Shazier from running the forty yard dash on Monday, but his 42 inch vertical leap was the best of the combine. His ten foot ten inch broad jump and 6.91 second score in the agility drill were leading linebacker performances, and his bench press total of 25 repetitions of 225 pounds matched the combine averages of offensive tackles for the last ten years.
Shazier seems strong and comfortable weighing in at 237 pounds, and he has spent six weeks training with former OSU tackle Jack Mewhort at the Bradenton, Florida IMG academy.
Shazier expressed hopes of gaining a bit more weight, but he feels good right now. His opinion is that he will not sacrifice speed just by adding a few more pounds. He received a second-round score from the draft advisory committee, but he elected to bypass his last season at OSU.
Shazier compares himself to the admirable attributes of Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David. Both players are versatile linebackers who were once considered to be too small for serious NFL play.
The choice to bypass senior year feels right according to Shazier. He piled up 134 tackles in the previous season, and this occurred without any serious injury. Shazier seems primed for success as he plays against the best in the league.