Since he arrived at Ohio State with a shiny new ACL, Nick Bosa has been an impact player for the Buckeyes.
As a true freshman in 2016, Bosa played in every game as a part of OSU’s defensive end rotation. He finished second on the team with 5.0 sacks and fifth with 7.0 tackles for loss. Last season as a sophomore, he started half of the 14 Ohio State football games. He finished with a team-high 8.5 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss.
Even though he was part of a rotation, Nick Bosa was productive enough to earn First-Team All-America honors. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year as well.
But he was also part of a defensive line with four captains, which means he wasn’t really called upon to be a leader. He still went about his business and played hard, but things are different for him this time around.
“It’s really cool to finally be the guy and be in the front of the line every time and be the example for everyone,” he said. “The first day we were kind of lackadaisical, so Coach [Larry Johnson] got on us right away. We just have to get used to me and Dre’Mont setting the example of being the guy who tells somebody to run back from a drill or stuff like that. It’s cool, it’s going to be fun.”
Nick Bosa has never had to be the vocal type. He simply played with the kind of effort his coaches never had to complain about. That changes now, however. Bosa needs to become a leader with both his actions and his words. He’s getting used to it, though.
“Yeah, definitely. I’m not usually a vocal guy, but I like to help people out a lot and critique people,” he said. “Not in a loud fashion as some people do, but I’m definitely going to have to take a more vocal role this year.”
As the leader of the leaders, defensive line coach Larry Johnson knows what he wants to see out of his pack leaders. The vocal leadership will continue and grow for Bosa, but what Johnson wants most is an example for every other young player to follow.
“There are really different leadership styles,” Johnson explained. “The best leadership style is to lead by example. Nick is one of those guys. All I expect from him is to go really hard so that a young player — Chase Young — doesn’t get any bad habits, because that’s how a great player is supposed to play. And that’s what Nick is doing for me. He is going as hard as he can, every rep, every play.”
The Bosa name carries with it a legacy of production, but the history of effort is the real truth being told. That’s why Larry Johnson couldn’t be happier to have a leader like Nick Bosa on the field for the Buckeyes.
“And all you have to do is turn on the videotape and say, ‘This is what we’re trying to emulate. This is what we want to be,’” Johnson said. “So a guy like Chase or [Jonathon] Cooper watching this, saying ‘Man, look at that.’ That’s the model we’re looking for.
“I think he’s doing a great job with leadership because he’s up at the front of the line. He’s the guy leading. He’s the guy really working extremely hard. That’s what you want from really good players, to be the ones leading the pack.”