Sonny Styles Ohio State Buckeyes Linebacker

Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘Sonny could probably play every position on the field’

Sonny Sized Up

Sonny Styles started 12 games for the Buckeyes last year as a true sophomore.

The first seven of those games came at nickel, while the final five came at strong safety.

Styles finished with 53 tackles last year, spending time as a nickel back, a Sam linebacker, and a deep safety. Versatility has never been a problem for him, which is why he has now taken another step forward and been moved to Will linebacker.

The move is permanent, but the versatility will still be put in place throughout the Ohio State defense this season. The possibilities have Styles’ defensive teammates excited.

“Yeah, I mean, I think Sonny is a spectacular athlete,” senior safety Lathan Ransom said last week. “I mean, Sonny has the ability to play safety, to play linebacker, and probably come off the edge. Like Sonny could probably play every position on the field. I think having him close to line being able to make plays, it gives us more opportunity to change the defense and do different things in the defense that maybe we weren’t able to do last year. I think wherever Sonny’s gonna play he’s gonna be successful, so I’m just I’m excited to play with him.”

College Research Project

It’s not every year that a star wide receiver returns for his senior season when there are questions about the team’s quarterback, but that’s where Emeka Egbuka finds himself in his final year with the Buckeyes.

Egbuka dealt with an injury last year, which limited him to just 41 catches for 515 yards. The yardage was less than half of what he produced the year before as a sophomore.

When Egbuka finally made his announcement that he was returning two months ago today, he knew he would be coming back to a team looking for a new starting quarterback. Starter Kyle McCord transferred out, and even though backup Devin Brown returned, there were still significant questions about the quarterback situation.

That fact was evident when Ohio State head coach Ryan Day went to the transfer portal for Kansas State quarterback Will Howard . When Egbuka started hearing about the possibilities that Howard could be in the picture, he did his research.

What were his first impressions based on that research?

“I didn’t know much about Will,” Egbuka admitted. “I knew Kansas State had a pretty solid quarterback. And then I watched his highlights and I was like, ‘Yeah, he has something special to him.’ So when I knew we were interested in him, I did my research. I watched his highlights. Watched some of his interviews.

“Talking with Coach Day, I knew that he was an intelligent quarterback. And from what I saw on the film, he looked like he can really sling it. Very accurate. And his ability to be able to run the ball and lower his shoulder because of his big frame is something that’s going to be a weapon for any offense.”

In Your Ear

Earlier this month, the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed a rule that would allow for in-helmet communications for one player on offense and one player on defense.

The rule coincidentally gained enough traction at the same time Michigan’s football program was embroiled in a cheating scandal for improperly obtaining the signals of opposing teams.

The thought behind the suggested rule being that if signals are eliminated, there will no longer be a desire to improperly steal signals. Signals will still be required in some instances, however, just because teams may need to move fast because of tempo or clock issues.

The rule was already given the go-ahead last year for bowl games in order to allow some teams to test the system out and provide feedback. While the rule won’t be voted on until April 18, most schools this spring are expected to give it a go in camp.

Ohio State is one such school, and senior middle linebacker Cody Simon would be the guy on defense with the green dot on his head indicating that he is the guy receiving the call from defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

The experience has been a new one for Simon, but he’s getting used to it.

Or he’s trying.

“Yeah. So now I have Knowles in my head,” he laughed. “Sometimes my radio was pretty loud today. So I had a little bit of stuff going on at practice, but it’s gonna be fun trying to yell out the defense and no more signals. Maybe we’ll see about signals. I don’t really know how this is fully going to work with games and stuff. But yeah, it’s been it’s been good so far.”

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