Raekwon McMillan: The Ohio State Linebacking Corps’ New Leader

Ohio State football comes into the 2016 season needing to replace a lot. They lost a total of 16 regular starters on both sides of the football, the most of any Power Five school. A record 12 of them were drafted by NFL teams. As such, questions abound as to whether the Buckeyes can maintain the elite level of play that has defined Urban Meyer‘s four years in Columbus.

Raekwon McMillan: The Ohio State Linebacking Corps’ New Leader

On defense, eight starters from last season’s 12-1 campaign have departed. Two of those players, Darron Lee and Joshua Perry, comprised one of the most fearsome linebacking corps in college football. The unit combined for 290 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and ten pass breakups in 2015.

But one remains, and it will be up to him to provide on-field leadership for a team short on experience.

His name is Raekwon McMillan.

From High School Phenom to Big Ten Stalwart

The junior linebacker enters 2016 having regularly contributed during both of his previous two seasons. As a true freshman, he appeared in all 15 games for the eventual national champions. He ended up finishing sixth on the team with seven tackles for loss. Last year, he led the Buckeyes with 119 tackles and finished second to only cornerback Gareon Conley with four pass breakups.

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COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 10: Raekwon McMillan #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Maryland Terrapins during a game at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes defeated the Terrapins 49-28. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)