Jim Knowles spoke the media on Monday about how his defense is starting to shape up ahead of the season opener on Sept. 2. One member of the media asked about if Sonny Styles has solidified himself as a starter.

Knowles confirmed that Styles is going to start at the nickel or “sam” position at safety in the Ohio State DC’s 4-2-5 defense.

“Maybe I’ll call him a ‘strike,’” Knowles said. “Nickel, sam, strike. Maybe strike is a cool name. He’s definitely a combination of those two (nickel and sam),” said Knowles. “Sonny’s definitely a guy we’re gonna have on the field as much as can. He can matchup to both 11 and 12 personnel, when people bring in two tight ends. He gives us a lot of more versatility.”

Speaking further on Styles’ versatility, Knowles discussed the many ways the Buckeyes can use a player like the Ohio State DB.

“What I saw in Sonny is that he has the ability to play high safety, to play man coverage, but he also has the length and the toughness to play up close to the ball. So we play him in that nickel/strike position, now you have a lot more flexibility in terms of, ‘Is he man on the slot? Is he in zone? Is he outside, inside? Is he blitzing off the edge?’ He just creates a whole other dynamic.”

It sounds like Knowles is feeling good about what Styles will bring to the Ohio State defense.