Noah Potter was one of Ohio’s top prospects in the 2019 recruiting class and had offers from most of the nation’s top football programs.
He signed with OSU over offers from Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, and the like.
At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Potter proved to be an intimidating figure as a high school defensive end.
A 4-star prospect, Potter was the No. 23 strongside defensive end in the 247Sports Composite and the No. 334 player overall. The No. 9 player in Ohio, he was a First-Team All-State selection each of his final two seasons in high school.
He is one of two defensive ends in the 2019 recruiting class, joining 5-star prospect Zach Harrison in enrolling early and participating in spring ball.
Potter is ahead of the game in terms of seeing playing time this season because he arrived in the winter by enrolling early.
What To Like
If you’re going to play defensive end at Ohio State, that’s cool. If you’re going to request the No. 97, as Potter did this year, you better be pretty damn good.
Noah Potter has been somewhat overshadowed in Ohio State’s recruiting class by Zach Harrison, but he is never actually overshadowed on the field.
Watching Noah Potter highlights.
Pulling Guard 0 pic.twitter.com/8AJgmJh2Rp
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 13, 2019
Obviously, he still has a lot to learn because he is so young, but it is easy to see how well he understands his job.
Below are two videos from OSU’s spring game. In the first, Potter is on the bottom of the screen and left unblocked. He is able to get to the ball carrier before the hole is hit. In the second, he is at the top of the screen and once again unblocked. He plays it as if he is the guy being read by the quarterback and remains disciplined enough to make the play. It is unlikely that there was actually a read on the play, but you can see Potter sticking to what he has been taught.
Potter also had a sack in the spring game. He is at the bottom of the screen here and gets around redshirt freshman right tackle Max Wray with a quick move. He gets Wray’s hands out of the way immediately and doesn’t allow the outside pass rush to take him so far away from the quarterback that he’s out of the play.
Potter is big, physical, talented, and fast, but his understanding of situations and circumstances is also impressive.
In the play below, he is at the left defensive tackle in order to get an inside pass rush. At the snap, freshman guard Ryan Jacoby gets his hands on Potter and stops him. Potter keeps his head up and his eyes on the quarterback and is able to peel off to make the play on the scramble.
Watching Noah Potter on the field, he fits in with the long line of defensive ends that has come through Ohio State over the last decade-plus.
If you equate the process of constructing a college football player to constructing a 10-story building, Potter has already arrived with the utilities dug and the first two stories pretty well complete.
Potter’s high school highlights are even more impressive, as they should be. But you will see some similarities.
For instance, in this first video, you’ll see a similar move that Potter pulled on Max Wray. The play after that, check out how well Potter uses his hands and pulls the tackle out of the way.
Look at how well he uses his hands and his power in these next three plays. He isn’t easy to engage, and sometimes when a lineman would engage him, it wouldn’t go well then either.
Noah Potter is one of eight defensive ends currently on the Ohio State roster, but only four of those eight have actually seen the field. Seniors Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper are the incumbents, Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday are the sophomores who saw time last year, Javontae Jean-Baptiste and Alex Williams redshirted as rookies last year, and Potter and Zach Harrison are the new kids on the block.
Because there are four defensive ends who have yet to play, it is not unrealistic to think Potter could make a move among those four. It won’t be easy, but he will have an opportunity in fall camp.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that defensive end recruiting in 2020 has not gone well, so there may be a desire — or even a need — to hold a freshman back for future depth chart purposes.
With the number of defensive ends on the roster, the Buckeyes could probably afford to be conservative here.
The Bottom Line
Ohio State has been able to find snaps for a fifth and sixth defensive end before, because they did it with Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper in 2017. Larry Johnson could certainly do the same this year, but with the allowance for four games played without losing a year of eligibility, that might be the best bet this season.
Of course, Johnson and head coach Ryan Day may not even be thinking about a redshirt year for Potter. With the likelihood of losing Chase Young along with Jonathon Cooper next year, perhaps the coaching staff will want as much experience as possible in preparation for a 2020 defensive line that will be missing five veterans from this coming season.
And even if they do want to redshirt Potter, he could prove to be too good to sit completely this year.