COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two legendary Buckeyes and highly respected NFL performers - Ryan Shazier and Malcolm Jenkins - will return to Ohio Stadium April 14 as honorary coaches for Ohio State's spring game, coach Urban Meyer announced today. Their appearance will unquestionably be among the most emotional and heartfelt moments in the stadium in quite some time.
Shazier, the two-time Pittsburgh Steeler Pro Bowl linebacker and a 2013 Ohio State team captain and first-team All-American, continues to rehabilitate the spinal injury he suffered in a Dec. 4 game. He has been an inspiration to all with his determination at rehab and his belief to someday play again, and he has even vowed that he is "still reaching" to be a "Hall of Famer."
On Sunday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, the 40-yard dash for all the linebackers was dedicated to Shazier by Mark Gorscak, a scout for the Steelers who was working the event.
Shazier, a starting linebacker for Ohio State's 2012 undefeated team - only the sixth unbeaten/untied team in school history - and for the 2013 team that extended a school-record winning streak to 24 games, was in his fourth season in the NFL in 2017. The No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Shazier has started 42 NFL games and amassed 299 tackles, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
Jenkins recently completed his ninth NFL season and fourth with the Philadelphia Eagles, helping the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl championship in January. Jenkins, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2017, is the first Buckeye to win Super Bowl's with two different teams (he also won one as a rookie with the New Orleans Saints in 2009).
The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner as a senior with the Buckeyes and a first-team All-American, Jenkins was the No. 14 overall pick by the Saints and spent his first five seasons in New Orleans. A veteran of 135 NFL games, Jenkins has amassed 539 solo tackles, 16 interceptions and 80 passes defended in his career. He has started 127 games.
Jenkins was the Eagles' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award this past season. The award is one of the most prestigious in the NFL as it recognizes outstanding community service efforts as well as excellence on the field. In February 2017, Jenkins was the recipient of the NFLPA's Byron "Whizzer" White Award, which also recognizes community achievement.
"I'm thrilled and I can't wait to see these two heroes back in Ohio Stadium," Meyer said. "The respect and admiration I have for each of these young men is off the charts, and I am so proud for our program and for the Ohio State fans that these players want to come back and be a part of our spring game."