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Ohio State’s Chase Young is ready to take over at defensive end

With the graduation of Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis, the sophomore is ready to wreck havoc at defensive end for the Buckeyes.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“I got all this hype on my name, so I can’t come short of it.”

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young via Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group

After a freshman year in which he registered 3.5 sacks in limited time on the field, things are about to get real for defensive end Chase Young. Even though he came to Columbus as one of the highest rated players recruited by Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Young had some time to get his feet wet with the depth Ohio State had at defensive end last year.

Now with both Jalyn Holmes and Tyquan Lewis having graduated, the spotlight is shining bright on Young, which is just how he wants it. The sophomore from Maryland knows just how high the expectations for him are, and he has the confidence to be even better than many are expecting him to be.

With Nick Bosa starting at one of the defensive end positions, and Young at the other, Ohio State has one of the scariest defensive lines in the country heading into this year. Young showed flashes of greatest last year in limited time, and the scary thing is that he says he has gotten even better as he heads into his sophomore year. Quarterbacks playing Ohio State this fall should be frightened that they’ll have to find a way to stay upright against the combination of Bosa and Young.

“You know how people always say the quarterback on the defense is the middle linebacker. But I really felt he was the quarterback of not just the defensive line, but the entire defense.”

Ohio State defensive end Jalyn Holmes on Tracy Sprinkle via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle wasn’t invited to last month’s NFL Combine, so today’s Ohio State pro day is where Sprinkle is going to have to show scouts he is worth a pick in next month’s NFL Draft. Sprinkle was the only one of Ohio State’s 12 non-returning starters to not be invited to the NFL Combine, so to say that he has a chip on his shoulder might be a bit of an understatement.

After suffering a knee injury in the 2016 season opener, Sprinkle returned with 16 tackles and three sacks last year. The low production on the stat sheet is likely why Sprinkle wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl or NFL Combine, but the defensive tackle’s impact on the game goes well beyond his statistics.

Sprinkle has been preparing for Ohio State’s pro day down in Florida, and he is ready to show NFL teams that he has the skills to be a contributor at the professional level. Despite the disappointment of not being invited to the NFL Combine, Sprinkle isn’t letting it get him down, and he knows the snub will only make him stronger as he works his way towards the NFL.

“He was really the difference for us in a lot of games, and as a coach, you’re saying ‘Man, is there a way I could have gotten that out of him earlier in the season.’ You’re kind of racking your brain trying to figure that out as a coach, but man, was he good for us.”

Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann on Kam Williams via Chris Lauderback, Eleven Warriors

Who knows just what Ohio State’s season would have looked like had the Buckeyes gotten the type of production out of Kam Williams all season that they saw in the NCAA Tournament. The senior truly did save his best for last, scoring in double figures in each of his last five games this year, including 22 points in the First Round NCAA Tournament win over South Dakota State, and 19 points in the loss to Gonzaga.

With the injury to Keita Bates-Diop last year, more was asked of Williams, and he slowed down the stretch as the Buckeyes struggled mightily in Thad Matta’s final season. Heading into his senior year, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding Williams and the Ohio State basketball program. The Buckeyes made a change at head coach by hiring Chris Holtmann, but the move happened in early June, which didn’t give Holtmann much time to make adjustments to a roster decimated by transfers.

Williams struggled early in the year, but as he started to heat up in December, so did Ohio State. Even though a three-game suspension produced many questions, Williams returned and didn’t take long to regain his footing. The end of Williams’ Ohio State career could have closed quietly after his suspension, but Williams made the most of the short time he had left.

While there were plenty of ups and downs in his Ohio State career, Williams still scored over 1,000 points during his time in Columbus, and made two NCAA Tournament appearances. Williams won’t go down as one of the most memorable Buckeyes, but when he found his shot he was fun to watch.

“I’m letting it hit me right now. We’ve been through so much. It just hurts you. The way you go out and that sensation I had about two weeks ago. So you think you can not only stay on that high horse, but play with that much confidence and play with that much focus.”

Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell via Colin Hass-Hill, The Lantern

It was supposed to be the fairy tale ending for Kelsey Mitchell in her final season at Ohio State. With the Final Four in Columbus this year, this was supposed to be the year where Mitchell and the Buckeyes finally made it to the national semifinals. Instead, the Buckeyes were upset in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament by Central Michigan.

Mitchell did all that she could to help the Buckeyes advance, scoring 28 points in the loss. The lone bright spot for Mitchell in the loss was that she passed Jackie Stiles to become the second all-time leading scorer in NCAA history. Even though it was a tremendous accomplishment for Mitchell, it still didn’t take away the sting that Monday night’s game was the last of her Ohio State career.

Despite the struggles of the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell will be remembered as one of the greatest players in Ohio State basketball history. Mitchell is hoping the success that she found in Columbus will help bring more talented players to Ohio State. While there will never be a Kelsey Mitchell in the Ohio State program, if they are able to get a player or two that is close to her caliber, they’ll reach their first Final Four since 1993.