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Ohio State: Dallas Gant builds case for role on retooled Buckeyes defense

Dallas Gant-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State linebacker Dallas Gant is turning in an impressive spring with the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

Ohio State: Dallas Gant builds case for role on retooled Buckeyes defense

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about an under-the-radar contributor in Dallas Gant? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Thanks to the ridiculous success on the recruiting trail, it can be something of a challenge to truly find an under-the-radar, hidden-gem talent at Ohio State. Even the guys who currently qualify as little-known players with the Buckeyes were mostly four-star prospects before signing with the program, giving them some name recognition even without playing much in their careers.

But if anybody has forgotten about Dallas Gant after his acclimation year as a freshman, it’s time to get familiar with the Toledo native again. The competition at linebacker is certainly fierce, it’s hard to get a read on exactly how the rotation is going to work for the Silver Bullets and there may still be more dues-paying to be done on special teams first. But there might not be any player who is consistently drawing as much praise as Gant, and that’s really a carryover from the practices ahead of the Rose Bowl when the expectations were starting to grow for his future with Ohio State.

“Man, that guy, he’s done all the little things,” linebackers coach Al Washington said. “In our culture … special teams is huge. A lot of times it’s a rite of passage for a young player. Dallas Gant, man, he’s taken that and run with it. He’s done a great job with that and in his role at linebacker.

“You watch the tape and he shows up. He’s competing. Every day he’s getting better, and we’re really excited about him. He’s done a great job.”

Dallas Gant-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State linebacker Dallas Gant is looking for a bigger role heading into his sophomore season. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Gant isn’t alone, of course. And he’s also not the only young linebacker turning heads, as that unit has gone from embattled to potentially one of the deepest and most talented at Ohio State. Teradja Mitchell is making a real push for playing time as well, and no conversation about future stars for the Buckeyes is complete without his name in it. But the buzz about Mitchell has been growing for a while now, while Gant seemed to fade a bit after initially making a positive mark as an early enrollee a year ago.

Officially credited with six tackles during his freshman campaign, Gant was able to get his feet wet right away with the Buckeyes even if just in small doses. And that taste of experience combined with now a full year in the program appears to be really paying off as Gant shows signs of zipping through the learning curve heading into the last week of spring camp.

“I’m just playing violent and as fast as I can,” Gant said. “Everything isn’t going to be perfect, obviously. I don’t have the defense all the way down, nobody does with the new defense. But I’m just playing hard, playing fast and playing with passion.

“Right now, I’m just trying to play ball. However it turns out, it turns out.”

Predicting exactly what that outcome will be is still hard to do at this early stage. But as often as Dallas Gant is hearing his name called this spring, it’s a good sign that he’ll be involved in some capacity by the fall.

Miss any previous editions of Question of the Day? Catch up right here.

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Anybody but Borland and Werner, please!! Give someone else a chance.

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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