In December 1996 the Heisman Trophy voters, in their infinite wisdom, decided that Florida quarterback Danny Wuerrfel was the outstanding player in the nation.
That was fine, except for the fact that that year a gentleman named Orlando Pace also played college football.
To date, possibly outside of the year that Ndamukong Suh finished fourth, that remains the single greatest miscarriage of Heisman justice.
The plaque on the base of the Heisman Trophy reads “Awarded annually to the outstanding college football player in the United States by the Heisman Trophy Trust.”
In reality, it should say something like “Awarded to the quarterback or running back from a top-10 team who puts up the gaudiest stats, and/or builds the most compelling narrative arc.”
Every single Heisman this century has gone to a player at one of two positions.
The Heisman as a concept is a wonderful and noble idea. The Heisman in execution is just Davey O’Brien Award 2: Electric Boogaloo.
This year, Ohio State junior defensive end Chase Young is The Outstanding Player In College Football, and it’s not particularly close.
At a school with a legendary history of great pass rushers, Young is doing things that have never been seen before.
Saturday against Wisconsin, he tied the school record with four sacks in a game. He had five tackles for loss. He forced two fumbles.
He became just the second player in OSU history with back-to-back double-digit sack seasons.
He has already surpassed the best season Nick Bosa ever put up, and matched the best season of Joey Bosa’s college career with 13.5 sacks this year.
Chase Young needs one sack to break the single-season Ohio State sack record. By the way, it is still October. The Buckeyes could play as many as seven more games.
“He’s probably the most dominant player in all of college football now,” said OSU head coach Ryan Day after the game.
“Chase is a great player, everybody knows that. He’s probably the best defensive player in the country,” said OSU quarterback Justin Fields.
For as dominating as he has been on the stat sheet, Young’s impact often goes far beyond that. His presence draws extra attention and extra blockers, freeing his teammates to make plays as well.
“They want to slide everybody to over him,” said co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. “We brought a corner today, we brought other people away from him. It just sets up a lot of other one-on-ones that you have.”
Young’s big day didn’t come against just anyone. This wasn’t Rutgers or Northwestern. Wisconsin has a hard-earned reputation for having big, bruising offensive linemen who make life miserable for opponents.
“Definitely. Wisconsin, big, burly, tough team,” Young said. “We just had to measure the intensity of what they are and I feel like that’s what we did. We came out and we matched it even more.”
“He’s just a freak athlete and unbelievable football player,” said Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan. “You’ve got to have a timer in your head. But a lot of it is for the O-line to know where he is.”
The Buckeyes know that’s the plan most opponents will have, and they’re already working to counter it. Saturday, Young rushed on some plays while standing up instead of putting his hand on the ground on the edge.
“We’re gonna have to start moving him around and being more creative because everybody knows who he is right?” said Hafley.
“If we always lined him up to the left, they can slide to him, they can chip him. If we line him up to the right they can slide to him, put the back on him, chip him. But now if we start moving around a little bit, we can kind of put him where we want him. Then we have to make them adjust.”
That’s not an easy adjustment to make on the fly. And it’s even more complicated because the Buckeyes have so many other talented defenders who can create issues.
“I feel like we’re a special team,” Young said. “But I feel like we’re only going to be as special as our focus is.”
I’m sure Coan is a pretty good-sized dude, he’d probably make me look small. But he just looks tiny in that picture next to Chase. Even with the different body angles you can just tell that Chase is a very large man.
There was a boat load of Pro NFL scouts and GM’s at the game yesterday. Even before the final gun they had already speed dialed Owners and told them to figure out a way to strong arm the opponents into ensuring THEY got the first pick in the draft. They’re seeing the success of the Bosa’s who were widely believed to be the best to ever pass through Ohio State into the pro’s. Sorry Joey. Sorry Nick. Chase Young is far and away the greatest Defensive End who has ever donned the Scarlet and Gray….by a lot. There just aren’t enough superlatives in the English Language (or any other) language to describe this guy. We’ll just settle for Tina Turners version of the superlative. Chase Young, “You’re simply the best, better than all the rest
Better than anyone, anyone I ever met.”
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