Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa was the first person to take the podium on Day 3 of the NFL Combine. With little else to listen too, most media members in attendance descended onto Podium C to hear the top 5 draft pick talk about his skillset, his NFL potential, and ... his personality.
His first words as he took the stage, "What's up?". It was early, people were still taking their seats, and Bosa was trying to open the floor for the barrage of questions for which he prepared. He seemed at ease behind the mic, answering question after question about his suspension at the beginning of 2015 and his ejection late in the season.
Perhaps one of the more defining questions was about whether he plans on going by 'Joe' as he enters the next phase in his life. Bosa was quick to reply, "No, I never see myself as a Joe. Maybe once I'm 50 I'll be Joe. Old man Joe."
He may be headed to the NFL, among some of the strongest and toughest men in the sport, but Bosa is still only 20 years old, and wont even be able to buy a celebratory beer -- legally -- until mid-July. He comes from an NFL legacy, and first round draft picks is a growing tradition -- one he hopes to pass down to little brother, and future Buckeye, Nick Bosa -- and one that people assume he wants to pass down to his future offspring.
On whether or not he feels pressure to produce and raise first round defensive ends, "Never really thought about that. Got to marry a tall, athletic girl and breed football players, I guess." The room erupted in subtle laughter, with the first pull quote worth quip of the day.
Shortly thereafter, he was asked about his calm demeanor in front of the media -- a usually tough group, that can chip away at a prospect's confidence --, Bosa admitted he felt at ease comparatively, "Yeah. I haven't been in front of you guys in a while. After meeting with a bunch of NFL coaches, you guys are nothing."
The defensive end noted that when he does meet with teams, he's trying to show them who he is as a person, "I don't have to change. I think I'm a likable guy. Right now, I'm focused on what's important and that's football. Just being alone and focusing just on this. When the time comes, I'll do what I have to do."
The real problem, is that people will question his off-field personality as an indication of the effort level he'll bring on the field -- and with Joey Bosa, these personas differ greatly.
His goal is to just let his work ethic and performance on the field show teams more than anything he could say, "I'm just handling what I can control. Been training as hard as I possibly could. I'm gonna just try to do as well as I can on every event."
Among one of the more rehearsed answers by prospects, Bosa's seemed the most genuine when asked what specifically he needs to improve on as he heads to the pros, "Everything. There's always room for improvement, so I'm going to continue to work on every aspect of my game and continue to improve."
Fittingly, the last question of his time with the media, was whether he was concerned teams would see him as too laid back. Bosa wasn't concerned with the perception he gives off the field, "I don't know. It's who I am. It's my personality."
Throughout his time at Ohio State, Bosa has been compared to Spicoli from the movie 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', a flick that was released 13 years before the DE was even born. Their look and surfer-esque vernacular are certainly similar, but Bosa has a switch that flips the second he laces up his cleats -- one that shouldn't be overlooked when he's making people laugh on the sidelines.