Saturday, October 27, 2012

RYAN SHAZIER WEARING NO. 48 TODAY IN HONOR OF LATE FRIEND

Ryan Shazier
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — If Ohio State football fans notice a linebacker wearing No. 48 wreaking havoc on Penn State ball carriers this evening, no need to scurry for a roster, he's already a household name in Buckeye Nation.

OSU leading tackler, sophomore Ryan Shazier, will be shedding his normal No. 10 jersey for Saturday's Big Ten showdown with the Nittany Lions, in order to sport the No. 48 in honor of a childhood friend who passed away a few months ago.

Gary Curtis, a team manager for Shazier's high school alma mater — Plantation (Fla.) — died prior to this season after losing his battle with muscular dystrophy. 

According to The Miami Herald, Curtis attended all of the Plantation football games seated in a wheelchair wearing No. 48 and cheering his team on no matter rain or shine. The jersey number Curtis wore has since been retired by the high school.

However, Shazier will bring it out of retirement today in Happy Valley.

"Buckeye Nation, I will be wearing No. 48 in memory of my friend Gary Curtis, who passed of muscular dystrophy. Love you, Gary!" Shazier stated via Facebook.

Shazier, who has logged a team-high 76 total tackles (7.5 for losses) and two sacks this season, is coming off an incredible 12-tackle performance against Purdue, one that his head coach Urban Meyer has tabbed his greatest game yet.

"Ryan Shazier was our defensive player of the game," Meyer said. "His best game that I've witnessed him play, including film I watched him on from last year."

The No. 9 Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) and Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-0) will kickoff today at 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.