Staff changes on the defensive side of the ball were expected for the Ohio State football team this offseason, but the one change in the offing came as quite a surprise.
As confirmed by recruiting analyst Bill Greene and BSB staffer Ben Axelrod, Mike Vrabel is leaving the Ohio State staff to join Bill O'Brien's staff with the Houston Texans.
Vrabel, Ohio State's career leaders in sacks and tackles for loss on the field, joined the staff under good friend Luke Fickell as linebackers coach in 2011. He spent one year in that role before moving to defensive line coach under Urban Meyer.
He returned to Ohio State at the conclusion of a 14-year NFL career that included three Super Bowl championships with New England -- the same team O'Brien coached for when Vrabel was on the roster in 2007 and '08.
He is also one of the top recruiters on the Ohio State staff having brought in a number of out-of-state recruits. He helped bring in freshman All-American Joey Bosa this season and has been a key member of the staff when it comes to relating to recruits. He was named the 2012 ESPN.com Big Ten Recruiter of the Year.
He is the second member of the Ohio State staff to leave this offseason, as safeties coach Everett Withers became the head coach at James Madison in December.