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Ohio State Safety Josh Proctor Ahead Of Schedule In Return From Leg Injury

The senior suffered a broken leg in the Buckeyes’ second game and had season-ending surgery.

It’s easy to wonder how much better Ohio State’s defense would have been this fall had senior safety Josh Proctor not suffered a broken leg that required season-ending surgery in the Sept. 11 loss to Oregon.

After all, he was expected to become an impact player in the secondary and showed flashes of that in the first six quarters of the season, recording 10 tackles and an interception that was overturned by penalty in 84 defensive snaps.

“Josh is a game-changing player, so it certainly hurt us,” secondary coach Matt Barnes said during his Rose Bowl media availability this week. “Not only is he a great player, but he’s loved. His teammates love him and he brings another level of energy and another level of competitiveness.

“As much as we missed his production on the field, maybe more so, we missed his energy off the field.”

Redshirt sophomore Bryson Shaw started the rest of the season in Proctor’s place, and had his fair share of ups and downs, while redshirt sophomore Ronnie Hickman started at the Bullet position and led the team in tackles with 95.

It’s unclear exactly how they’ll all fit into new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ defense, though he notably deploys three high safeties against spread offenses. For now, the Buckeyes are simply concerned about getting Proctor back to full strength.

“All I can tell you right now is he’s ahead of schedule,” Barnes said. “From my understanding, he’s progressing very well. It’s hard for me to say when he’ll be back.

“I’m sure it’s something that we would anticipate easing him into. I don’t think we want to just jump him in there right away, but I think the important thing is that he’s ready to go for next season.”

Given the timing of his injury, this season will count as a redshirt year for Proctor. That mean's he'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining and plenty of time for him to become that impact player the Buckeyes thought he could be this fall.


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