COLUMBUS, Ohio — Robert Landers knows he does not look like a typical college defensive lineman. And he hears about it.
“Yah… a lot. I’m a little short for my size but it plays to my advantage.” Landers says.
Landers is listed at 6’1″ and 285 pounds, but in-person he looks a little shorter and a little lighter. He’s become a big, heavy problem for opposing offensive linemen.
“It tends to be a little more difficult for them to bend down and one thing about me is i’m quick off the ball… and since I am a little shorter I’m able to use my leverage to my advantage.” he says.
Landers leads Ohio State in tackles for loss with five through the first four games this season. He’s a redshirt freshman from Huber Heights Wayne who, as you may expect, was not a sure-bet recruit like many of his OSU teammates. During his senior year at Wayne, Landers earned an offer from West Virginia. But many other schools, like OSU, held back on scholarship offers because of his size. During Wayne’s run to the DI state championship game, it became clear he was a unique talent. OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell started to get phone calls each week from opposing head coaches, telling him to bring Landers to OSU. One opposing coach told Fickell that Landers eliminated their run game by himself. Fickell made a trip to Wayne and that same night Landers came over to Columbus for an official visit. Within hours, he was a Buckeye.
“It’s hard to say no to Coach Meyer… I’ve loved it ever since.” Landers says.
Landers showed his uncanny strength in several ways during his high school career. He was the Ohio DI state shot put champion as a junior, heaving the shot 61’8″.
With the injury to presumed starter Tracy Sprinkle at defensive tackle, Landers has emerged as a valuable asset at that position. Dre’Mont Jones, Davon Hamilton have joined Michael Hill to carry the load up front. Landers has 8 total tackles and a quarterback sack this season.