COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Baron Browning was Ohio State’s most athletic and versatile linebacker in 2020, which is saying a lot considering the talent the Buckeyes had at the position.
Browning anchored the defense alongside veterans Pete Werner, Justin Hilliard and Tuf Borland, who played in more than 150 games combined.
Browning will likely be the first Ohio State linebacker taken in the draft and is ranked one spot ahead of Werner by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. Browning is projected to go in the third round.
The Fort Worth, Texas, native ended his OSU career with 110 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles.
Browning played occasionally as a true freshman and more regularly as a sophomore before setting himself apart from linebackers all across the country his junior year. During that 2019 season, he amassed 43 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and five sacks despite only starting one game. Browning started four games his first three seasons before starting in five of the seven games he played in 2020.
“Some people are fortunate to come in and make an impact right away and for me I was just kind of the guy who had to go through the storm, weather it,” Browning said. “I’m grateful. I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. It made me the man I am today and the player I am.”
Browning’s 40-inch vertical jump and broad jump of 10 feet 10 inches leaps out compared with most. He also has above-average speed running the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.
Coming out of high school, Browning was ranked as the No. 1 outside linebacker and No. 4 recruit in the state in 2016.
Browning also rotated at middle linebacker with Borland and played a little bit at defensive end and safety in high school.
“One team told me they wanted me to play Mike [middle linebacker] and be a situational pass rusher, I feel like a majority of the teams talk to me about the 3-4 stand up role and I had a few team mention [defensive] end to me,” Browning said.