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Football: Linebacker Jerome Baker named semifinalist for Butkus Award

Ohio State junior linebacker Jerome Baker (17) combines for a tackle with redshirt sophomore cornerback Damon Arnette (3) on Penn State’s Saquon Barkley in the second quarter in the game against Penn State on Oct. 28. Ohio State won 39-38. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

On Monday, Ohio State saw another member of its defense show up on an award semifinalist list as junior linebacker Jerome Baker was named one of 13 players up for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker.

Last Monday, cornerback Denzel Ward was named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.

Baker has emerged as a dominant presence on Ohio State’s defense as the outside linebacker and second-year starter currently leads the team in tackles with 36 — 19 solo tackles and 17 assisted. He also ranks fifth on the team in tackles for loss (4.5) and is tied for third in sacks (two).

Baker played a prominent role in Ohio State’s 39-38 victory against Penn State as he was often tasked with guarding running back Saquon Barkley or tight end Mike Gesicki, two of the Nittany Lions’ most potent offensive playmakers. He finished the game with seven total tackles — four solo and three assisted — and came away with half a tackle for a loss.

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