If you were to poll random Ohio State football fans about what they are looking forward to seeing most this season from the Buckeyes, the name Chase Young would come up quite a bit.
As a freshman last season, the former 5-star prospect played when games were rarely in doubt, but still finished fifth on the team in sacks (3.5) and tackles for loss (6.0).
Now, however, he is going to be relied upon a lot more than he was a season ago. The expectations for what he will do this season are rising just as much as his anticipated increase in minutes.
The process of meeting — or even exceeding — those expectations has been underway for a while now, and will only pick up throughout spring ball.
“He’s probably about 260 right now. He looks good. Now he’s trying to learn how to really start playing football,” Buckeyes’ defensive line coach Larry Johnson explained. “He’ll get a lot more reps in spring ball. He’ll go from being a 25-play guy to about 50-60 plays. I’m going to soak him really hard because I’ve got to get him ready to play. That’s the biggest thing right now.”
The hype and attention surrounding Chase Young reached “Bosa levels” before he ever even put on an Ohio State football helmet. Both Joey and Nick Bosa were named First-Team All-Americans as sophomores. The Bosa brothers also played a great deal more than Young did as true freshmen, but no rookie was going to break into the Buckeyes’ foursome at defensive end last season.
The benefit of such depth, however, is that Young leaned from a lot of great players and saw what it takes to become his best. According to Johnson, Young is putting what he has learned to good use.
“Chase has a really great football IQ. He wants to be great. So what he has to do is study football plays,” Johnson said. “And what he is doing right now is preparation, not just on the field, but off the field things that are important. And he’s starting to learn how to be a student of the game. That’s what young players have to do. It’s still just running and chasing the quarterback, but I have to know formation, I’ve got to know what’s in front of me, and that’s what he’s starting to do right now.”
Those on the outside have only been able to see glimpses of what Chase Young is capable of doing. His teammates, however, get to see it every day, which is why they have such high expectations for what is to come.
“Chase is an amazing player,” said junior defensive end Jonathon Cooper. “He’s a big, strong, powerful guy. He’s really fast, and he’s really athletic. I think Chase is going to be one of the top ends. Actually, I know he’s going to be one of the top ends in the country. That’s my little bro. I can’t wait to be playing with Nick and Chase.”
Cooper, Bosa, and Young will make the losses of future NFL players Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, and Tyquan Lewis easier to overcome. All three of the current OSU defensive ends came in as 5-star prospects. Nick Bosa could see a scenario where Young is as good as any Ohio State football player before him.
“I think he could be as good as anybody who’s ever come through here,” Bosa said. “He’s super tall, long, he’s got everything you want in an end. He’s fast, gets off the ball, he’s already starting to work on his moves. His ceiling is through the roof.”
Anything short of Big 10 first team for Chase would be unacceptable. Heck, it would be shocking if he wasn’t an All American at the close of the 2018 season.
Greedy? I don’t think so. That’s what we’ve come to expect out of those who learn under Larry Johnson.
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