Star junior DE Chase Young will sit out this weekend’s game against Maryland as Ohio State investigates reports of possible NCAA rules violations.
The school issued a statement Friday morning saying that, “Ohio State’s Chase Young will not play in this Saturday’s game between the Buckeyes and the Maryland Terrapins due to a possible NCAA issue from 2018 that the Department of Athletics is looking into.”
Technically, Young hasn’t been suspended yet. But if he is forced to miss more than a game or two, it could have a major impact on this year’s Buckeye team.
OSU is a big favorite for Saturday’s game against Maryland and next week at Rutgers.
Beyond that, however, things could get serious pretty quickly.
The Buckeyes close the regular season with back-to-back games against Penn State and at Michigan. If they win the first two, they would then play in the Big Ten Championship Game and potentially the College Football Playoff.
Losing Young for any of those games could cost the Buckeyes not only a win, but also their championship hopes.
While Young is a generational talent, Ohio State does have the luxury of quality depth at the defensive end position.
Senior DE Jonathon Cooper will also miss this week’s game due to an injury, leaving sophomores Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday, redshirt freshman Javontae Jean-Baptiste and true freshman Zach Harrison to cover the end spots.
Smith and Friday each have five tackles and a sack in five games this season, including two starts. Jean-Baptiste has 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks and Harrison has 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks, mostly in a backup role.
If Young is forced to miss more than two games, that would put more pressure on that talented, but relatively inexperienced group.
Senior DT Jashon Cornell slid outside to start at defensive end in the season opener against Florida Atlantic, and could make that move again if the Buckeyes want a veteran off the edge while Cooper is out.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has options that most people in his position around the country could only dream of.
But there’s a reason Young was considered a Heisman candidate; he’s a pass-rushing talent unlike anything Ohio State fans have ever seen before.
Ultimately, a possible suspension for Young could be anything from a minor inconvenience to a season-changer for the Buckeyes. It all depends on if, and when, he can come back.