■ OSU can stake a claim as Linebacker U., with 12 All-Americans, eight first-round draft picks, and two Lombardi Award winners. But in one area, at least, junior Ryan Shazier may stand alone. The Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year turned heads recently when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds — a time that, if not aided by tornado or timer, would make a receiver blush. “The [players] that have been really good have been different,” linebacker coach Luke Fickell said. “But the one thing I’ll say about Ryan is he has the ability to make more plays than anybody we’ve had.”
■ If backup quarterback Kenny Guiton does not complete a pass this year, he will always have Purdue. “Something I have to live on for the rest of my life,” he said of the comeback. But history suggests OSU will again need the senior at a key juncture. Braxton Miller missed nine games with injuries during his final three seasons in high school, and he’s been knocked out of games each of his first two years in Columbus. Though Guiton lacks the physical gifts to be a full-time option for a title contender, offensive coordinator Tom Herman said Guiton’s leadership and decision-making is good enough to start for “half the teams, at least.”
■ Subtract .0001 percent from coach Urban Meyer’s statewide approval rating. In the weekly leadership course he teaches for 20 or so of the team’s most influential players, his favorite archetype is ... LeBron James. “What are they talking about?” Meyer said of the polarizing NBA star’s critics. “Give me all kinds of LeBrons. Do you see the way he ... treats people, the way he focuses? Those leadership meetings, those videos we used, his face is plastered all over. First of all, our guys admire him. But the head coach really admires him.”
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