[This is the 10th installment in our annual series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the previous season’s freshman class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming season. Up next is defensive end Noah Potter.]
Noah Potter matriculated to Ohio State from Mentor High School where he was a 4-star prospect and two-time First-Team All-State defensive end.
Ranked the No. 23 strongside defensive end in the nation and the No. 334 player nationally, Potter had offers from the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green.
Potter decided to stay in state and be mentored by Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, and that process began as soon as he enrolled early in January.
“Noah Potter is a guy who has already shown he’s going to work really hard, kind of a guy who we expect to challenge in the spring,” head coach Ryan Day said on signing day in 2019.
Despite the coaching change from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day, Potter never wavered.
“[Day] said he was going to keep some of the same strength staff and the first thing he said when he walked in was that Larry Johnson isn’t leaving. Coach J was the reason I committed and as soon as he said that, I was solid.”
Potter enrolled early for the Buckeyes and also flashed early. He had a sack in the 2019 Ohio State spring game and certainly looked the part.
Of course, if you are going to be an OSU defensive end and request the No. 97, you better not disappoint.
“I think he asked for it,” Larry Johnson said last spring. “I think he asked for it. Sometimes I have flashbacks watching 97. Some different guys have been in that jersey number, so we’ll see how it goes. The guys who wear that jersey have been great football players. Really outstanding players. Noah’s just got to be himself. He can’t follow those guys. Those are special guys.”
Potter played in four games as a true freshman, maintaining his redshirt. He finished with two tackles.
So Now What For Noah Potter
Hey, if you’re gonna have to replace Chase Young, you may as well do it with somebody wearing the No. 97.
Of course, that’s a bit of a tall order this year, but the Buckeyes are looking for some defensive ends to step up.
While there are a number of names returning, including Jonathan Cooper, Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday, Zach Harrison, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, and Cade Stover, there aren’t a whole lot of statistics to go along with it. Together, these six players have a combined 17.5 sacks, and 6.5 of those belong to Cooper.
This spring is going to be a big one for Potter as he attempts to show that any defensive end rotation the Buckeyes have his year will need to keep him a part of it.
Injuries were an issue at the position for most of the players listed here, and if that is the case again in 2020, then Potter could have an opportunity to Wally Pipp a couple of guys and stay in the rotation.
There is also the distinct possibility that he won’t need any help finding himself in the rotation. If he makes plays in practice, Johnson will get him on the field.