Chase Young might be the next big thing for the Ohio State defense.
At 6-foot-5 and 260-odd pounds, he certainly passes the look test.
As a true freshman this season, Young picked up 3.5 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss. It was a productive season, and compares very favorably with Nick Bosa’s freshman season the year before when he posted 5.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss.
The major difference between the two, however, was that Young did his damage in just 10 games, compared to 13 for Bosa, and he wasn’t a part of the rotation as much as Bosa was as a rookie.
In other words, Chase Young did pretty well in limited opportunities, and those opportunities are going to go way up next season with the departure of Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, and Jalyn Holmes.
Now, it will be up to Bosa, Young, and Jonathon Cooper to fill in the gaps at defensive end. Young is confident that they will manage.
“I know how they do it now,” he said. “They taught me, just looking up to them. If I do what they did next year, maybe do it better in terms of leading, and I’m going to have Nick’s help and Coop’s help, even right now they’re two leaders, I think we’ll get it done.”
Young didn’t play against Oklahoma or Penn State or Michigan, but he was in there against Wisconsin and USC. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson was wary of putting Young in positions where he could fail, so he tried to cherry pick when and where to play him. By the time the bowl game came around, however, Young was out there against USC. He even sacked quarterback Sam Darnold late in the game.
That’s a play that can drive Young through the offseason, showing him that he can succeed against the very best and help lead the defense where it needs to go in 2018.
“Oh, most definitely,” he said. “Next year, they already told me that it’s me, Coop, and Nick. There’s only going to be three defensive ends for spring ball, so we’re just going to have to lead the whole D-line, and I think I’m up for that challenge.”
Chase Young will play much more next season, and his production will increase. In fact, he already has a number in his mind that he’s shooting for.
“Me personally, right now it’s probably 10.5 sacks,” he said. “TFLs, they’re going to come. I think 10.5 sacks.”
Young’s freshman season was a learning experience, and he had fun, but it has only wet his whistle when it comes to wanting more.
“Oh, I mean obviously you want playing time,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to playing. Just getting out on the field more, having more opportunities. It’s going to be really fun.”
And what type of player should people expect to see when he is on the field?
“Relentless,” he said. “Relentless. Always causing havoc.”