“Everyone who doesn’t pick Nick Bosa is just trying to be cute. He’s already better than his brother, and he might challenge Ed Oliver for the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft.”
Ohio State is coming off a season in which it boasted one of the deepest defensive lines in program history. While the line this year might not be as extensive, the talent from the starting group is no less exemplary. Alongside Chase Young and Dre’Mont Jones, Nick Bosa is widely regarded as one of the best players in college football, but faces a challenger at his own position in Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell. Both had outstanding seasons in 2017, and both were finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award honoring the nation’s best defensive end (they lost to NC State’s Bradley Chubb, who ultimately was selected with the No. 5-overall pick in last year’s draft). Sutton Smith from Northern Illinois and Ed Oliver from Houston are also getting some nods as potential leaders from the end position, but the competition seems heavily in favor of Bosa and Ferrell.
Bosa ended 2017 with 8.5 sacks--the highest total on the team--despite an internal rotation that meant fewer individual snaps for any one player. With the departure of Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes, Bosa will play an even greater role on his defensive line this fall as the unquestioned leader of his unit. He will have the chance to continue to build on his success last season in what will almost undoubtedly be his last year playing in Columbus.
Ferrell faces a different set of circumstances at Clemson, as every member of the defensive line--which was already outstanding last year--opted to return for the 2018 season. Ferrell himself led the Tigers with 9.5 sacks on the season for a team that averaged more than three per game. While his individual production may be limited given the talent around him, Ferrell will still likely emerge, once again, as the best defensive lineman on his team.
Ohio State announced women’s basketball’s 11-game 2018-19 non-conference schedule Monday. As one of the consistently top women’s basketball programs in the country, the Buckeyes look to face some stiff competition before entering Big Ten play in January. This year’s schedule is also unique with an expanded, 18-game conference schedule--two games more than in previous seasons. The schedule is expected to be announced later this summer. The biggest non-conference game by far on the schedule is the Nov. 11 matchup with UConn in Connecticut. The Huskies had won four-straight NCAA Tournaments before being usurped the past two seasons in the Final Four, most recently by Notre Dame. UConn is 4-0 against the Buckeyes, including their most recent matchup in 2016 in which the Buckeyes fell 82-63. In addition, in the second game of a two-part California trip, Ohio State will travel to Palo Alto to take on Stanford, who fell in the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s tournament.
The Buckeyes will have two games to prepare before their trip east, however. Ohio State opens its season at home against South Florida--another 2017-18 tournament team--in Value City Arena Nov. 6, owing to a new NCAA rule allowing an earlier start to the season. They’ll then head across the street to St. John’s to take on Detroit Mercy. Ohio State’s schedule also features home games against North Carolina, Cincinnati and Florida.
It will be a tall order for the Buckeyes, who will introduce nine new team members in the 2018-19 season. Ohio State will also need to look for a player (or players) to replace Kelsey Mitchell, the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, who was selected with the No. 2-overall pick in the WNBA Draft in April. Mitchell finished the season third in the country in scoring with 24.3 points per game.
“The Buckeyes sport one of the nation’s deepest defensive lines, so losing three key members of the rotation simply opens up snaps for the next wave of stars.”
As Ohio State prepares to enter the 2018 season, it does so with outstanding talent at a number of position groups. This talent was codified in Phil Steele’s annual College Football Preview magazine, which features defensive end Nick Bosa on the cover. Of the eight position groups that Steele ranked, Ohio State was in the top-10 in six.
Chief among these groups, naturally, is Ohio State’s defensive line, which Steele pegged as the No. 2 line in the nation behind Clemson. Despite losing three starters, the line still features Bosa, considered by many the No. 1-overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Fellow end Chase Young, a former five-star recruit himself, looks to match Bosa with a breakout season of his own on the other side of the line. The pair will be supported on the interior by Dre’Mont Jones, who opted to return to Columbus for his redshirt junior season.
Steele also regarded the Buckeyes highly when it came to wide receiver and running back, placing both at the No. 3 spot in their respective rankings. With J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber splitting carries at running back, the trio of backups--Master Teague, Jaelan Gill and Brian Snead--is easy to overlook despite its apparent talent. On the receiver side, Dwayne Haskins will have plenty of veteran targets to throw to between K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Austin Mack. While none showed their full potential last season, each is a potential playmaker who can support a young Haskins.
Slightly lower on the list, Steele put Ohio State’s defensive backs at the No. 6 spot, owing to the loss of Denzel Ward to the NFL. Special teams and offensive line both came in at No. 7. Meanwhile, with young units with lots to prove, linebackers and quarterbacks both fell outside the top-20.