Coming off an All-Big Ten showing as a junior, Ohio State defensive end John Simon was one of 10 Big Ten players selected to a watch list by media for the upcoming season. (He was joined on this elite list by OSU sophomore QB Braxton Miller.)
Simon had 7 sacks, 16 TFLs last year
The 6-2, 260-pound Simon has started all 26 games over the last two years and is primed to have a big senior year.
In his career, he has 110 tackles, 11-1-1/2 sacks and 28 tackles-for-loss. Last year as a junior, Simon had 53 tackles (31 solo) and led the team with 16 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks. He ranked fifth in the Big Ten in sacks and seventh in the conference in tackles for loss. In testing this spring, Simon ran a 4.6-second 40-yard time.
Click here for a video interview segment with Simon from the Big Ten media days today in Chicago.
He discussed his passion for weightlifting and training, who his mentors were when he arrived at OSU, his move from defensive tackle to defensive end, the progress of recovering DE Nathan Williams, the progress of OSU’s young defensive linemen and more.
In discussing his training regimen – which drew him praise from first-year OSU head coach Urban Meyer – Simon said, “I enjoy being around the guys every day and I don’t want to let them down.”
Williams missed all but one game last year with a knee injury. He sat out the spring and Simon said his senior classmate is rounding back into shape.
“Nate is doing awesome,” Simon said. “He is going to contribute for us big time this year. He is working extremely hard to get back and we look forward to having them. He is a great playmaker for us. To lose him last year was a hit to our defense.”
Simon said the Buckeyes had a “great summer” and are ready for the start of camp next Friday.
Simon met with the media Friday in Chicago
“I think it’s the best summer we’ve ever had,” he said. “To come into this camp is very exciting. We’re more prepared than we have been in the past. We just have to make every day count.”
Simon talked about getting the defensive standards back where they belong after a 6-7 finish last year.
“We want to start fast and finish strong,” he said. “We want to put together complete games. If we can go out there and play four quarters of complete football, we will be all right.”
OSU welcomed in several talented defensive linemen this year, including freshmen Noah Spence, Adoplhus Washington, Se’Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt.
“I think they all have the potential,” Simon said. “With the work ethic they have, any one of them could help us this year if not all of them. They are extremely motivated and highly enthusiastic about playing football for Ohio State.”
Simon’s linemate, junior DT Johnathan Hankins, was one of the first players who “graduated” from red to gold in the team’s internal ranking system. That move was a testament to how well Hankins had bought into the new program.
“Hank comes in every day and works,” Simon said. “I don’t know what (that graduation) did for him. It’s really what it did for the whole team. The whole team was so proud of Hank and how hard he worked this off-season. When you see a guy who has such a prominent role on the team go from red to gold, everybody else wants to do it also.
“Guys have been making those moves (between levels) all the time. As a senior, you feel a sense of pride for those guys. You’re excited for them. You want to get as many guys in that gold category as possible.”
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