Ohio State Football’s Cody Simon healthier than ever and still ready to lead the linebacker room

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cody Simon finally left behind an old New Jersey encore when he showed up at Ohio State’s football preseason camp.

For the past two seasons, Simon has dealt with right shoulder pain that arose during his career at St. Peters Prep in Jersey City. As he established himself a little more each week last season as OSU starting linebacker Mike, the discomfort grew.

When it got unbearable after the Michigan game, Simon felt there was only one choice left. He underwent surgery in December to repair a torn labrum. The move cost him a chance to play in the Rose Bowl and kept him out of team drills — and the setup of coordinator Jim Knowles’ new defense — for all of spring practice.

Tommy Eichenberg earned Rose Bowl Defensive MVP honors in Simon’s absence with a 17-tackle performance. Then he spent the spring earning Knowles’ praise for his IQ and conscience while becoming a newly announced captain.

Simon entered camp playing catch-up but healthier than at any time in his OSU career. It could mean his best football remains ahead of him. Regardless of his place on the depth chart, he gives the linebacking group something it lacked last season — proven options.

“One of the things about our band is it’s not like a selfish thing where it’s like, ‘Oh, you start, so I don’t like you,'” Simon said. “We push each other every day to be When the game ends, we’ll all work together anyway.

“Right now, it’s just camp. So work as hard as you can, and when we’re done, we’ll see what happens.

Simon ranked second on the team in tackles at the end of the regular season. He took over as starting linebacker from Mike after three games and held that position through each painful shoulder-absorbed collision.

Knowles, who also coaches linebackers, couldn’t really assess the players ahead of him until the spring. When players such as safety Josh Proctor returned to full participation, Knowles generally began to speak of them with more appreciation for their skills.

On August 9, only a few training sessions in the camp, the same dynamic was already playing out with Simon.

“Cody has great football sense and great football intelligence,” Knowles said. ” He is hard. You He learned defense, although he could not play in the spring.

“…All I see with Cody now is just timing and adjustment issues. Timing is so important when making tackles. Just him removing the rust. But I really liked what I’ve seen so far.

Simon admitted the rust was present, only a week into camp. He said he remembered his real freshman year, spent stuck behind four seniors, including a few NFL starters, during those mental rehearsals in the spring. Once cleared, it regained considerable strength throughout the summer. Then he had to reacclimate physically, with help from Knowles and defensive assistant Koy McFarland.

Simon is not to say the shoulder injury held him back last season. However, it was pretty obvious looking at the No. 75 player overall in the 2020 class that he couldn’t put it all on the pitch.

He predicted “relentless effort and leadership” this fall. Whatever his role, he plans to provide a vocal presence in the middle of the defence.

“My job was to go as hard as I could until I couldn’t anymore – and I feel like I did that,” Simon said. “Next season is the most important season now.”

Simon’s best football may be ahead of him, meaning he could force the issue to the top of the depth chart again this fall. Whatever the outcome, that’s one way this defense should be better.

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Get the latest Ohio State Buckeyes merchandise: Here is where you can order Ohio State Football Gear Online Including Jerseys, T-Shirts, Hoodies, Hats and much more.

If you or a loved one have questions and need to speak to a gambling professional, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the from the National Council on Program Gambling (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700.

More Buckeyes coverage

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Will Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud run the ball more, and should he? Buckeye Talk Podcast

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