NCAA Football

College football notebook: Ohio State DT Hill suspended

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- Ohio State senior defensive tackle Michael Hill will be suspended for "a few games," coach Urban Meyer said Monday.

Meyer didn't specify the reason, nor did he indicate exactly how long the suspension might last. The Buckeyes open the season at Indiana on Aug. 31.

Hill earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors after starting 13 games last season, when he made 19 tackles, including three for loss.

Hill might have had a difficult time being a starter this season. Senior Tracy Sprinkle returns from missing almost all of last year with a knee injury to join sophomore tackle Dre'Mont Jones, but Hill likely would have been a valuable member of arguably the deepest defensive line in the country.

Others in the mix at defensive tackle are sophomores Davon Hamilton, B.B. Landers and Jason Cornell, as well as four-star freshman Haskell Garrett.

"Without anointing the guy, right now he's on course to play," Meyer said of Garrett. "That's unusual for an interior D-lineman, but he's really impressive right now."

The Buckeyes have an elite four-man rotation at end, with Tyquan Lewis -- the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year -- joined by Sam Hubbard, Nick Bosa and Jalyn Holmes.

--Miami senior Nick Linder, who has started 21 games at center over the past two seasons, has decided to sit out in 2017 and transfer, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt said Monday.

Linder will graduate this week, Richt said, but appears in no hurry to find a new team. He never redshirted and retains a year of eligibility for the 2018 season.

"He is going to go home, I think, and train for one semester and then he is going to transfer somewhere else," Richt told reporters after practice.

Linder started the first nine games of last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. His replacement, Alex Gall, graduated after last season, so the starting center job likely will now fall to junior Tyler Gauthier, who started the final four games of last season.

"When guys leave, it just puts pressure on the rest of the team," Richt said. "He's a really good player and he really knows what he's doing. Certainly, I'm disappointed, because I'd rather he be here than not be here."

Asked why Linder is leaving now, Richt said, "You have to ask him."

--Greg Menard, a standout defensive end for FCS power North Dakota State, has suffered a season-ending knee injury, coach Chris Klieman announced Monday.

Menard, a senior, has a redshirt season available and can return in 2018.

Menard has career totals of 33.5 tackles for loss, including 28 sacks, helping the Bison win national titles in 2014 and 2015 as part of their five consecutive championships.

North Dakota State was ranked No. 2 behind James Madison in the FCS Top 25 released Monday.

--Alabama junior defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne figures to be the new leader of the Crimson Tide's defensive line, with Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson having moved on to the NFL. NFLDraftScout.com rates Payne as the nation's No. 31 prospect for the 2018 draft.

Payne is known as a big run-stuffer, making 36 tackles last season, including 1.5 sacks. He should get more opportunities this season on passing downs. Payne is listed at 308 pounds, 11 lighter than last season.

"He's really worked hard in the offseason to maybe get in better shape," defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt said. "With the graduation of some guys, it also opens some doors for him to probably be more of a three-down guy."

Updated August 7, 2017