It was starting to seem like the Ohio State Buckeyes had received enough bad news leading up to the Orange Bowl, especially when it came to their defense.
The Buckeyes received word from the Big Ten this week that their starting defensive end, Noah Spence, has been suspended for three games, including the Orange Bowl. His suspension comes from his supposed use of an unapproved dietary supplement, and an appeal of his suspension was denied. They will also be without starting cornerback Bradley Roby, who will not be playing on Friday in his last game as a Buckeye because of a bruised knee he suffered against the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship game. Linebacker Curtis Grant has been suffering from back and ankle injuries that will limit his playing time. Now, Ohio State has received some news that is bad news for their defense next season as well.
According to Urban Meyer, it appears as if safety Christian Bryant will not be returning for next season. Bryant and Ohio State had entered an appeal to the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility for him since he spent most of the 2013 season sidelined with a broken ankle that he suffered against the Wisconsin Badgers on September 28. Their argument was that though Bryant played in more than 30 percent of Ohio State’s games this season he should be eligible for another season because he also missed a good part of his freshman season with a foot infection. Apparently, the NCAA did not agree with this argument and denied Bryant an opportunity to come back for a fifth year of eligibility. Meyer said the denial was based on “sheer numbers” and added that he’s not sure if there’s another appeal process left. If there is, though, it sounds like Ohio State will try another appeal.
It would be a huge boost to a struggling Ohio State defense to get Bryant back in 2014, though right now that does not seem very likely to happen. Hopefully they will get some good news on that front after the Orange Bowl, but until then they just need to concentrate on their bowl preparation and getting a win over the Clemson Tigers.
More bad news is the last thing the Buckeyes need.