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Buckeye To Watch: Nathan Williams

A quick look at Nathan Williams OLB for the Ohio State Buckeyes

The LEO position at Ohio State is quickly becoming one of the most prestigious positions in all of college football.  You have Quarterback at USC.  Linebacker at Penn State.  Quarterback at Notre Dame.  LEO at Ohio State?  Don't laugh.

You can go back all the way to 2002 with Will Smith, standing up and roving behind Tim Anderson, Darion Scott and Kenny Peterson.  When Will Smith went on to the NFL, he was replaced by a OLB in Bobby Carpenter.  After him, Vernon Gholston.  Then Thaddeus Gibson.

Four players, all NFL players, three of them first round picks.

Nathan Williams is next, and trust me, he is going to be great.

If you watch Ohio State football, you already know who he is.  Number 43.  The white guy with taped forearms that rushes the passer like his hair is on fire on passing downs.  In the limited playing time he has had he has gotten to the Quarterback.  Usually in a bad mood.

We are talking about a kid who was getting reps as a true freshman at the deepest position on Ohio State's roster, linebacker.  In his freshman season he had highlight games like his two sack effort against Northwestern and his TFL in the Fiesta Bowl.  He was named the Outstanding First Year Defensive Player by the coaches at the end of the '08 season.

Last season, playing on mostly long third downs, he registered 25 tackles, 8 TFL, 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.  Imagine what he will be able to do with the majority of playing time.  He is versatile enough where he can drop back into coverage, yet possesses the best first step of any Ohio State OLB.  In short, he was born to play the LEO position in Jim Heacock's defense.

Nathan Williams will make you forget Thaddeus Gibson.  That is by no means a slight to Thaddeus mind you, Nathan Williams is just that good.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.