This is the 31st in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
Professional sports in Ohio are winding down for the year. For the Buckeyes, however, business is just picking up. We are now just 70 days away from being about five weeks away from Buckeye football. If that doesn’t get you excited, then you may not actually be a football fan.
If you aren’t looking forward to the season every single day of the year — or not looking forward to the season at all, then you may in fact be a Michigan fan.
I realize that I have just offended most of you, but you knew the odds when you clicked the link.
Now please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).
We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.
Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.
Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era
#70 Ashton Youboty
Ohio State’s 2003 recruiting class could have been one for the ages in the secondary. The Buckeyes signed Ashton Youboty, Donte Whitner, Anthony Gonzalez, Ira Guilford, Curt Lukens, and Dareus Hiley. Youboty and Whitner panned out, Gonzalez stuck on offense, Lukens and Guilford never really materialized fully, and Hiley never showed up at all.
Youboty started as a sophomore and junior, then left for the NFL a year early. He was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Youboty actually started the Michigan game in 2003 as a true freshman. As a sophomore, Youboty finished fifth on the team with 61 tackles. he also added 3.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and 14 pass breakups. He was named First-Team All-Big Ten as a junior in 2005, following a season with 48 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, and eight pass breakups.
Youboty is currently in his second season as a quality control assistant for the defense at Wisconsin.
Best Games This Fall
#70 Michigan State at Arizona State
This is the first year of a home-and-home between Michigan State and Arizona State. They will meet in week two this season and week three next year.
The Spartans have a tuneup to start the season against Utah State before heading into the desert to take on Arizona State’s professional approach under new head coach Herm Edwards. The Sun Devils aren’t killers, but a win on the road to start the season is always welcome for some September hype.
ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins has potential and has put up decent numbers as a starter. Receivers N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams form a talented duo that will put Michigan State’s cornerbacks to the test. Can the Sun Devils outscore the Spartans? They’ll probably have to with Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke and running back L.J. Scott at the helm.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#70 Watching Demario McCall
A healthy Demario McCall? It sounds like a hell of a thing to see.
This year we will see McCall at H-back, which is where most of us always expected he’d end up. He showed in the spring that the slot suits him, but so does everywhere else on the field. The Buckeyes will also use him as a punt returner and kick returner. The more he can get involved, the more explosive the Buckeyes become.
McCall is one of the most dynamic players in the Big Ten, and this year we’re finally going to get to see it.
Matchup To Watch
#70 Ryan Bates, PSU OT vs. Nick Bosa
Ryan Bates looks to be the man at left tackle for Penn State, which means he and Nick Bosa are going to get to know each other very well when Ohio State comes to town the fifth week of the season.
Bates was a Freshman All-American in 2016 and a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection last season. He is definitely not a pushover.
Bosa, meanwhile, is coming off of an All-American season, and more of the same is expected this year. His brother had a walk-off sack against Penn State in Happy Valley in 2014. Can Nick Bosa repeat history four years later? Nothing that we have seen from him so far has convinced us to ever doubt him, so I don’t plan on starting now.