COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In a year where there is zero consistency, and unknown is just a way of life, the Ohio State University Buckeyes can at least find one regularity: Tuf Borland will be starting at middle linebacker.
There may not be a more perfectly named human than Tuf. He has played every single game in each of the last three seasons, which alone is a feat; but when you factor in that he played every game in 2018 after tearing his achilles in the spring, and that makes it clear: Tuf is just plain tough.
“There’s gonna be ups and downs, good days, bad days, but you just have to stay consistent in your approach,” he explained.
“He commands respect from freshmen to the upper classmen,” said OSU linebackers coach Al Washington. “He’s always been there.”
That lead-by-example style has resulted in Borland being named a team captain three times. Only one other Buckeye in history has done the same: JT Barrett.
As expected, Borland is still pushing for more out of himself.
“I think he has challenged himself to be more outward with his leadership style and he’s done that,” Washington said.
“At some point, some guys have to show the younger guys the way, right?” Borland said. “How to be a pro, how to attack film, how to approach practice, how to do all the things behind the scenes that need to be done to play at a high level.”
It’s clear that he has been playing at that level. Borland has logged at least 50 tackles in each of the last three seasons.
Now, in his final year, it’s about leaving a legacy, and winning a national championship.
“You know, we’ve kind of taken it upon ourselves to kind of lead the defense as a whole,” he said about the experienced linebacker group. “That added responsibility comes with being a veteran player.”