Josh Proctor and Tommy Eichenberg Say Sonny Styles Could Thrive at Linebacker This Season: “Anywhere You Can Put Him, He’ll Get the Job Done”

By Chase Brown on February 29, 2024 at 2:16 pm
Sonny Styles

Last week, Ohio State linebackers coach James Laurinaitis and safeties coach Matt Guerrieri gushed over Sonny Styles, with the former calling Styles a “weapon” and the latter calling him a “dynamic playmaker.”

While the coaches’ love for Styles and his on-field capabilities is evident, neither provided a certain answer when asked where he will line up for Ohio State’s defense in 2024. With Lathan Ransom, Caleb Downs, Denzel Burke, Davison Igbinosun and Jordan Hancock available to fill the Buckeyes’ five defensive back positions, there’s potential for Styles to move to linebacker, where a spot remains vacant next to Cody Simon. This offseason, Guerrieri said the Buckeyes will move him around this offseason and see where he fits best.

“Without getting into specifics, we’re going to take a look at a number of different things for him and put him in the best position for him to be successful and the team to be successful,” Guerrieri explained.

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, former Ohio State safety Josh Proctor said Styles' potential transition to linebacker would be straightforward given his skill set. Proctor said Styles has continued to add weight to the 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame he utilized to collect 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks last season, so Proctor expects Styles to make the move down to linebacker.

“Sonny's probably gonna be a linebacker. He keeps putting on weight,” Proctor said with a laugh. “I feel like he’d be comfortable there. He’s a physical guy. He’s smart. He knows the game. He knows everybody’s spot on the defense. Anywhere you can put him, he’ll get the job done.”

Tommy Eichenberg, who declared for the draft after two All-American seasons as the Buckeyes’ starting middle linebacker, agreed with Proctor’s assessment. He praised Styles’ versatility and said the Pickerington, Ohio, native would look like a natural if and when he lines up next to Simon.

“He’s a really good football player. He’s shown it at safety. He’s been really impressive covering man-to-man on slot receivers,” Eichenberg said. “For him to play linebacker, that would be awesome.”

When asked about changes Styles would need to make to transition from safety to linebacker, Eichenberg said there weren't many, if any, that Styles couldn't handle.

“There’s nothing, really,” he said. “I think he’s ready. I think he would have been ready last year to do it.”

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