Ryan Shazier, Career Tribute
Against the Bengals, Shazier went for a tackle as Andy Dalton threw the ball across the middle to Josh Malone on 2nd & 5. Shazier lead with his head as he fell towards Malone to make the tackle, he hit his head awkwardly and it ended up nocking his spinal cord making him unable to feel or move his legs. He laid on the field holding his back signaling for the trainers to come onto the field. When the trainers came he said he couldn't feel his legs. Thankfully, he was able to celebrate with his team after they won the game. He was placed on injury reserve of course. He underwent spinal stabilization surgery probably sealing the end of his NFL career.
In his career at Ohio State University he ended with: 15 sacks, 1 int, 1 pick-6, 45.5 tackles for lose, 317 total tackles and 5 forced fumbles, he only played three years before he declared for the NFL draft. His best year, however, was by far his junior year. He had 23.5 tackles for lose, 7 sacks, 4 passes defended (In which he had 5 for his career), 144 total tackles, 0 int, and 4 forced fumbles. In his junior year he led the Big Ten in: solo tackles (102 and second in the NCAA), total tackles (144 and third in the NCAA), forced fumbles (4), and tackles for loss (23.5 and second in the NCAA.) His career solo tackles is ranked fourth in Big Ten history with 210, number one is Greg Jones with 236, it took Greg four years to accomplish that record while, again, Ryan played only three years of college at Ohio State. But Ryan holds the record for single season solo tackles for the Big Ten with 102 in his Junior year, number two is Abdul Hodge with 96. He is ranked seventh on the single season Big Ten tackles for loss record with 23.5 in his Junior year, number one is Shawn Crable with 28. He is also tied for eleventh on the Big Ten career tackles for lose record with 46, while number one is Ryan Kerrigan with 57. But, eleven of the twelve players that are ahead of or are tied with Ryan for the record played four years instead of three, the one player who is ahead is Joey Bosa. Ryan Shazier is one of four linebackers in the top eleven, he ties with two of them and the other one is six tackles for lose ahead of him, and the one thing all of the other three linebackers had in common is that they all played four years! If Ryan did play in his senior year in 2014, helping the already championship Ohio State Buckeyes play even better! My predictions for his stats, if he played his senior year are: 92 solo tackles, 132 total tackles, 1 interception, 7 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss, 6 passes defended, and 4 forced fumbles. Of course that is being conservative, I think he would've been better than that. But if those predictions would be right that would put Ryan as tied for third all time in NCAA career tackles for loss with 66, tied with Aaron Donald and behind number one Khalil Mack with 74, and number two George Selvie with 69. What makes Ryan Shazier‘s statistics even more impressive is that he did it in the Big Ten! While Aaron Donald played 3/4 years of his career in the Big East and his senior year in the ACC, while Khalil Mack played for Buffalo in the MAC, and Selvie played for South Florida in the Big East. The Big Ten was and probably still is the second best conference in NCAA football. Also, in his sophomore season, not only did Ryan Shazier have 70 solo tackles and 115 total tackles, 5 sacks, 17 tackles for lose, and a 17 yard pick-6, but he was awarded the first team All Big Ten honors as well as his junior year. In his junior year he also earned First Team All-American! Although, in his outstanding Junior year Ryan still did not get Big Ten Defensive Player of The Year, instead Chris Borland of Wisconsin earned it. Borland has a good season but Ryan has an amazing season! Here are their stats for their respective seasons:
Chris: 111 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Ryan: 23.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 144 total tackles, 7 sacks, and 4 passes defended.
It’s quite obvious that Ryan deserved that award.
His High School Career
After graduating plantation Florida high school Ryan was a four star recruit on ESPN, he was ranked 81st overall and fourth in his position, in high school he played outside linebacker and defensive end. Ryan committed to Florida to play under Urban Meyer, but then urban resigned as head coach of Florida and Ryan no longer committed to the team. Then Ryan committed to Ohio State thinking he would play under Jim Tressel, then he resigned and Urban Meyer was Ohio State‘s Head coach, I guess it all worked out in the end. During his high school career Ryan showed out, as an outside linebacker he could cover tight ends and grabbed the ball out of the air for an easy pick, and at left end he could speed right past the offensive lineman and get to the quarterback for a sack or the running back for a tackle for loss.
With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Steelers selected Ryan Shazier with an absolute robbery of a draft pick. As a rookie Ryan didn’t get the starting job, he only played in nine games yet he did start in five. He ended his rookie campaign with only one pass defended and 27 total tackles. But in his second year he got a better chance to shine. He played in twelve games and started all of them, he intercepted one pass and had four passes defended. He has 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and 55 total tackles. He has a good start to his career but not an amazing one, his third year was when I began comparing him to RAY LEWIS. This year Ryan started all 12 games he played in, he had 3 picks, 10 passes defended, 68 total tackles, and 2 forced fumbles along with one fumble recovery.
The Ray Lewis Comparison
Here's Player A's stats his third year in the NFL:
3 sacks, 101 total tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 0 passes defended and 2 picks across 14 games started and played. With an average value of 12.
And here's player B's:
3 picks, 9 passes defended, 3.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 55 total tackles across 13 games played and 12 started. With an Average Value of 10.
Also, passes defended do NOT include picks, as interceptions are counted as there own stat (I agree it makes no sense but that's the way it is.)
Player A is Ray Lewis and Player B is Ryan Shazier, the stats are very comparable, in my opinion I think Ryan's is better because of the turnovers and less games played and started. Also, this year Ryan ended his season with 10 passes defended, 3 picks, 2 forced fumbles, and 68 total tackles in just twelve games! TWELVE! Ryan's first twelve games of his fourth year compared to Ray's first twelve games of his fourth year are very debatable. Ray Lewis' stats in his twelve games are: 3 sacks, 2 picks, 1 safety, (Back in 1999 tackles were not kept track of in game logs but Ray Lewis' total tackles in the full season were 131 so by basic math his average total would be 98 total tackles.) Without a doubt it is up for debate who is better, but once again because of turnovers I'm giving Ryan Shazier the slight edge.
One Last Message
On the off chance Ryan Shazier see's this I just want to say good luck, I hope you can comeback even a third of what you were because that would be starting condition. Thanks for playing for my buckeyes by the way, but really, Ryan is one hell of a player and is by far one of the best linebackers in the NFL currently, it just goes to show how unfair things in life can be. An amazing playing that could honestly be compared to Ray Lewis doesn't deserve to have his career ended so suddenly. Thanks for reading.