99 Warriors: No. 43, Big Ten and National Champion Linebacker, Darron Lee

By James Grega on July 20, 2018 at 8:05 am
Darron Lee

We're counting down the days to kickoff with “99 Warriors,” the greatest Ohio State Buckeyes by jersey number, as voted by the staff of Eleven Warriors.

No. 43 Darron Lee

Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Darron Lee moved to New Albany, Ohio in middle school and it wasn't long before he became a football sensation in central Ohio.

LB Darron Lee

b. Oct. 18, 1994 (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

  • National Champion (2014)
  • Big Ten Champion (2014)
  • Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP (2015)

Just a three-star recruit out of high school, Lee was not exactly sought after by Ohio State. It was linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell that persuaded Urban Meyer to take Lee as a member of the 2013 class, a move that more than paid off. 

After redshirting the 2013 season, Lee exploded onto the scene in 2014. He recorded 81 total tackles, good for third on the team, as the Buckeyes went on to win their first national championship in 12 years. Lee's best game as a Buckeye in his first year as a starter came against Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal when he recorded seven tackles and two sacks in a 42-35 win that sent Ohio State to the national title game. He also returned a pair of fumbles for touchdowns that season, one against Navy in the season opener and another against Michigan in the regular season finale. 

Lee returned in 2015, recording 66 tackles and a decisive interception return for a touchdown against Northern Illinois, that ended up being the difference in a 20-13 victory. He went on to become a first round draft pick by the New York Jets in the 2016 NFL Draft, one of five Buckeyes to be taken in the first round that season. 

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