Michael Bennett Could Destroy Worlds with Breakout 2014 Season

By Michael Citro on February 20, 2014 at 2:15p

When the 2014 Buckeyes take the field this fall, the entire defensive line returns intact — a far cry from the previous season, in which all four starters had to be replaced.

After Noah Spence’s suspension for drinking out of someone’s ecstasy-laden red Solo cup at a party, he’ll rejoin fellow D-line regulars Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington and Michael Bennett (with Joel Hale potentially moving to the offensive side of the ball to offset veteran losses there).

It’s nice to have experience at such a key position. It’s even better to have a senior like Bennett to provide the vital leadership the defense needs.

Bennett, who often has spectacular Twitter game, has had a solid, if unspectacular, career at Ohio State. Playing 34 games in a somewhat injury-plagued three years as a Buckeye, Bennett has 70 tackles (37 solo), 17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

The Centerville product had only one career start prior to 2013, filling in for an injured John Simon in The Game in 2012. Last year, Bennett became the middle anchor of a pretty good defensive line that was often victimized by a lack of communication in the back seven.

Predictably, as a starter, Bennett had by far the best season of his career. He played in 13 games (he sat out the Florida A&M game), and finished among Ohio State’s leaders in several statistical categories. Bennett finished fourth in TFLs, second in forced fumbles, and first in fumble recoveries. Only Noah Spence (8) and Joey Bosa (7.5) finished with more sacks, and Bosa played in one more game.

Expect even bigger things from Bennett in 2014. The son of two graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the 6-foot-3, 285-pound man-beast has demonstrated a commitment to discipline and teamwork.

Om nom nom nom nom.
Bennett has a knack for sacks.

“I’ll do whatever the coaches need from me,” said Bennett. “If I get two tackles a game or 12 tackles a game I’m fine with it as long as we win, I’m doing my job and doing a good job at it.”

One of Bennett’s strongest attributes is his mental toughness. He has battled back from — and through — multiple injuries, including a groin problem that cost him four games in 2012. He had to come off the field several times last year but fought through it time and again as the grind of the season wore on.

With Ohio State’s depth on the defensive line, and a new approach by new D-line coach Larry Johnson Sr., Bennett may be able to play fewer downs in 2014, which will allow him to stay fresh deeper into games. This will allow him to maximize his above-average explosiveness and speed.

A fresh Michael Bennett late in the fourth quarter will be more disruptive than ever, helping Ohio State close out games on defense — something that was missing over the final few contests of 2013. It could propel Bennett to a breakout year.

That’s got to be a frightening prospect for a Big Ten offensive lineman.


Comments Show All Comments

Killer nuts's picture

I think Bennett is an unheralded play maker. He is in the backfield a lot against the pass and run. I'm excited to see what he does next year

+4 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

The new defensive philosophy is a major issue for all the D-linemen. 

With Ohio State’s depth on the defensive line, and a new approach by new D-line coach Larry Johnson Sr., Bennett may be able to play fewer downs in 2014, which will allow him to stay fresh deeper into games. This will allow him to maximize his above-average explosiveness and speed.

Bennett is also a very intelligent young man, and he should have a great year if he can stay healthy.

BuckeyeLaw's picture

He will be a force this year. I would like to see Bennett be one of the leaders on this defense, both vocal and by example. 

OSU 2011 - Toledo Law 2014

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Love the team-first attitude, and he has a good head on his shoulders (well done, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett). I think Michael Bennett is in for a big 2014.

buckguyfan1's picture

Finish your Buckeye career of right may man!


+11 HS
ab42beerman's picture

That picture will live forever.  Excellent.

+2 HS
jbcuky's picture

One of my favorite players. There were some games where he was an absolute beast! Hope he stays healthy and continues improving and terrorizing opponents.

+1 HS
sivaDavis's picture

I was really surprised no one was excited as I was the Bennett was coming back. Yes Roby and Shazier were the bigger names but no one seemed to talked about this. I know we have depth on the DL but I feel like getting Mike to come back was big

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

He said last year he was not fully prepared for the position and needed to add a few pounds and some strength and would do a lot better. Lets see if you are a man of your word Mr. Bennett

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

teddyballgame's picture

Was really good to hear that he was coming back.  It wasn't all that surprising though because you can tell that Mike and his family really value the degree.  Plus the D-Line will be stacked next year and should get some attention from NFL scouts, so that doesn't hurt either.

m5987usus's picture

Michael Bennett Is an amazing player for this team, he could be an All-American IMO


CC's picture

He's the 2nd or 3rd best d-lineman on the team, I highly doubt he will be an all-american.  I hope I'm wrong.  If I were a betting man Bosa would be my bet.

-1 HS
m5987usus's picture

Well he plays DT not DE, I think that he could be an all American DT


-1 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

He was really tearing it up at the Super Bowl... What?

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+1 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

Making Centerville proud - gonna have a break-out year!

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

MB is a str8 up freak of nature. He is one of my favorite Buckeyes. Very glad he came back for his Sr. season. He will be the anchor of this DLine that will terrorize OLines next year all year long. I believe he could work his way into being a 1st round pick and possibly a top 10 pick. He has the skills for that to happen. I think LJSr could mold him into one of the best DLineman TOSU has seen in some time. Cant wait for 2014 to get here. Watch out CFB the Buckeyes are back!!! GO BUCKS!!!

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

hspbuy1's picture

I'm glad #63 is coming back for his Sr season. This D-line should be one of the best!


cinserious's picture

I wasn't surprised to see Bennett return. HE quietly does his job and, when healthy kicks ass and takes names! NFL scouts probably have him on their radar but likely have injury concerns. Here's hoping Bennett enjoys an injury free senior season and wreaks much havoc while racking up plenty of TFL/sack/ and batted-down statistics, propelling him to a first round pick.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

ToledoMan's picture

“I’ll do whatever the coaches need from me,” said Bennett. “If I get two tackles a game or 12 tackles a game I’m fine with it as long as we win, I’m doing my job and doing a good job at it.”

That is why I love this guy.  I hope he has an injury free year.  Good things will happen.  

zhamilton05's picture

Watching Bennett burrow through the middle of an O-line is a real treat. I hope his arm is healed; that gigantic cast he sported last season can't have helped him shed blockers--though it probably made a nice bludgeoning tool.

Like most of you, I'd love to see Bosa-Washington-Bennett-Spence become the main defensive 4 for the Buckeyes. The sheer athleticism of that group would overwhelm most offensive lines, especially in the B1G. However, A-Wash and Bennett have to prove that they can stuff an inside power running game, and we won't know that until later in the year when we play MSU and M&#!*$@n. By then, if our tackles have held up physically and can hold the trenches, I like tOSU's chances to run the table.

youngbuck32's picture

I can't wait to see Bennett, Schutt, and Washington, rotating in and out to provide devastation to opposing offensive lines. Especially with a veteran Spence, underrated Marcus, and Joey "Boss" Bosa providing punch off the edge... I haven't been this excited about a D-Line since 2002... and we all know how that turned out... 

Can't is the real "C" word!

rayjack01's picture

Hard to believe he is already a senior. I remember his commitment like it was yesterday. Go Michael hope you have a great season.