Monday, February 21, 2011

RON TANNER TO BE A QUARTERBACK IN THE OSU DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD

Ron Tanner
(The Buckeye Times/D. Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — Have you ever heard the saying "to catch a criminal, you have to think like one?"

That's certainly the philosophy of Ohio State safeties coach Paul Haynes when it comes to stopping opposing quarterbacks — you have to think like one.

Enter class of 2011 signee, safety Ron Tanner of Columbus Eastmoor Academy.

Like current Ohio State safeties Orhian Johnson and Zach Domicone — as well as recent graduate Jermale Hines — Tanner played quarterback in high school and understands what a signal caller is looking for when facing particular defenses. Haynes said that putting a quarterback at safety has been a highly successful formula for the Buckeyes defense in recent years.

"Very physical kid, very big kid, very rangy, very athletic," Haynes said of Tanner's abilities. "The thing about Ron is he was a starting quarterback at Eastmoor. A lot of his highlights are on the offensive side of the ball.

"That's kind of how we've had a lot of safeties here with Jermale, Orhian and Zach Domicone, guys who played quarterback for their high school. They have come in and done a good job at safety."

Tanner (6-1, 190) compiled more than 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns as a quarterback at Eastmoor as a senior last season. He also recorded 104 tackles on the defensive side with three interceptions and 15 pass break-ups.

See a pattern here?

Tanner, who recently participated in the Team USA vs. The World game in Texas, may have a good chance of seeing some playing time at Ohio State as early as this fall.

"These guys got to learn, these guys got to learn fast," Haynes said. "Because we learn real fast that there could be a situation where guys got to go in there unexpected."

If "learning fast" is the golden path to the playing field, Tanner should have no problems at all getting into the mix, being that he's a member of the National Honor Society and currently holds close to a 4.0 grade point average at Eastmoor Academy.

"The good thing about Ron is he's a very smart kid," Haynes said. "He's an honor student. He'll fit in."

Haynes also loves what Tanner exemplifies off the field.

"You know, we talk about our kids fitting in," Haynes said. "Ron will definitely fit in. Ron does things around Columbus that we ask our kids — a lot of community service, speaking to young kids, giving back to his community.

"Those are things we loved about Ron."

Tanner, who also plays basketball and baseball at Eastmoor, plans to enroll at Ohio State in the spring quarter.