How Will Ohio State Football Replace… Tyquan Lewis

Nick Bosa Ohio State Football Buckeyes indoors


Tyquan Lewis has been a constant for the Ohio State defense over the previous three seasons. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year following the 2016 season despite splitting reps in OSU’s defensive end rotation. He led the Buckeyes in sacks in 2015 and 2016, and finished second with 7.0 this past season and third in tackles for loss with 9.5.

For his career, he finished with 23.5 sacks, which puts him fifth all-time in Ohio State football history. His 36.5 career tackles for loss puts him 15th all-time at OSU, just one behind All-Pro defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

Tyquan Lewis was productive throughout his career, but he did it with discipline. He wasn’t a freelancer and he never complained about having to share reps. He was the consummate teammate and a coach’s dream. He led the Ohio State defense from the front line and he is going to be missed for a variety of reasons. It will take more than one player to replace him, but few teams have the starting base that the Buckeyes do.

The Candidates

It feels silly to even type the following words, but the Buckeyes will replace a three-year starter and all-time great with the guy he split reps with — a First-Team All-American. Nick Bosa is arguably the best defensive end in college football, so the Buckeyes have that going for them, which is nice. Bosa is a complete defender and a nightmare both against the pass and the run. He needs to improve his discipline, but even when he freelances, good things happen. Bosa also knows that he needs to step up as a leader, and  he is already doing that during winter workouts.

The idea of the Rushmen was to provide four pass rushers on passing downs, and so Tyquan Lewis’ departure will need to be filled on passing downs as well. Much of that replacement will be done by defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones. With Jones on the field, there will only be a need for three defensive ends, which is what the Buckeyes are currently working with until fall camp brings in some freshmen. Jones’ presence will also continue during the season and even though he won’t be replacing Lewis in that package, he is replacing the need for a fourth defensive end. And he will certainly be picking up some of that leadership slack.

You may also want to keep an eye on incoming freshman Tyreke Smith, who is very reminiscent of Tyquan Lewis’ skill set. He is athletic and tenacious. He is not just a pass rusher or a run stopper. He is a complete defensive end who could be called upon to provide depth during the season. There may not be a huge need for Smith this season, but like other freshmen defensive ends under Larry Johnson, he will try to get them some snaps where they are in a position to succeed. That usually means he’ll have to wait until the game is no longer in doubt.

Spring Outlook

The spring will actually be interesting to watch because the Buckeyes are only going to have three defensive ends on campus in Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and Chase Young. Will a linebacker or two move down? Will there be some fundamental changes to Ohio State’s defensive lineup that will feature more linebacker/defensive end hybrids? How many snaps does Nick Bosa even need this spring? Basically, they may need to find a few more bodies just for all of the reps that they’ll have.

Best Bet

We know that Nick Bosa is going to be just fine as he takes on a larger load on the defensive line. It’s what he’s wanted for a while now, so he is excited to show everyone what he can do in a larger role. When he talks about 2018, he sees himself at one end and Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young at the other end.


Wouldn’t it be something if a different Ohio State defensive lineman won the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Award for a fourth-consecutive season? I’m not going to predict that to happen, but the Buckeyes have a couple of candidates who could give it a pretty good go. But then, it’s pretty hard to go against Nick Bosa winning it for a second year in a row. That being said, if he’s going to be the focus like Joey Bosa was in 2015, then maybe a Dre’Mont Jones or Bibi Landers or one of the other defensive ends slips in there. Since a prediction is required, let’s go ahead and predict another very good season for Nick Bosa and see how that goes.

How Will Ohio State Football Replace…

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3 Responses

  1. Shouldn’t be to hard to find a replacement for him. He was a solid player, but there are plenty of young pups waiting and ready to play. OSU has the x factor in Larry Johnson who is one of the best D line coaches in college football.

    1. Tyquan Lewis was more than just solid. He was one of the most consistent players the Buckeye defensive line has has since his arrival. Statistically he was one of the best. He wasn’t flashy or have the “name” as a DE terror, he just got the job done, led through example and was the spearhead of one of the best defensive lines in the Country. I, as will LJ and about any HC (CEO in the Buckeyes case), take that level of performance all day, every day.

      1. No, he was a nice solid player, agree with OP. Not flashy as mentioned, just solid!

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