Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is senior linebacker Dallas Gant. Yesterday it was offensive lineman Grant Toutant. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.
No. 19 | Linebacker | 6-3 235 | Senior | St. John’s Jesuit High School | Toledo, Ohio
How’d He Get Here
The University of Toledo offered Dallas Gant a month before his sophomore year at St. John’s. The Buckeyes offered about 11 months later after Gant attended an Ohio State camp in June of 2016. That offer was followed by offers from Notre Dame, Pitt, Penn State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma, and others. Gant committed to Ohio State four years and one week ago on his birthday. There was a time when Gant was the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation per 247Sports’ rankings. He finished as the No. 10 outside linebacker in the 2018 class and the No. 166 player overall. Gant enrolled early at Ohio State in January of 2018 and immediately began to be lauded by his coaches for his maturity and discipline. He was the second member of the 2018 class to have his black stripe removed (behind Tommy Togiai). He was a backup at the Sam linebacker spot as a true freshman and then backed up Tuf Borland and Baron Browning in the middle as a sophomore. Last year he was the second-team middle linebacker behind Borland. He has played in every game the last two years. Gant has 44 career tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles as a Buckeye.
Dallas Gant is expected to be the Ohio State starting middle linebacker this season, but that plan was not helped when he missed this past spring with a foot injury. He’ll be good to go for preseason camp but not having him on the field this spring wasn’t ideal for him or the Buckeyes. There will still be a competition for the starting job in camp but Gant’s experience at the position the two previous years will make him difficult to unseat.
What to Like
Having spent two years at middle linebacker has given Dallas Gant the ability to run the defense for the Buckeyes. He’s a smart player who takes the job seriously. He has good size at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, has clocked in the 4.6s back in high school, and even has the ability to get deep (see video) should the need ever arise. The speed is there to cover ground both vertically and horizontally. Gant has been patient in his time at Ohio State, but he hasn’t just spent his time waiting.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
As the starting middle linebacker for the Buckeyes, the ceiling should be high. For Dallas Gant, there’s no reason not to expect a lot as a starter. He understands the position, he is athletic, and the hunger is there. Assuming he wins the job, it would only take a couple of big plays early in the season against Minnesota and Oregon to make him a national name. Nobody really knew who James Laurinaitis was until the Buckeyes went to Texas in the second game of the 2006 season. The week before, Laurinaitis started at middle linebacker for Ohio State and had four tackles while Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe went off for over 170 yards rushing. The next week against the Longhorns, Laurinaitis had 13 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception and was an instant star. If Gant does something similar this year, he could stay in the spotlight. Even if he doesn’t, he should still be able light his own path for the Ohio State defnese this year.
It will be interesting to see what Dallas Gant decides to do after this season. Like all returning players this year, he could choose to use his free year and return in 2022. If he wins the starting middle linebacker job and proves himself a star, he may not need to come back. Should he see an opportunity to improve his draft stock, however, a return may be in line. Those decisions aren’t coming any time soon, but the production should be right around the corner. What happens after that could be even better.