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Amid NFL Draft hype, Chase Young is staying focused on a Buckeye playoff run

The edge rusher is clearly ready for the next level, but his mission at Ohio State is not yet finished

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

“I feel like every year, we had a fluke loss. And I’m just real focused, I tell them every day, it’s only one game, and one game can make us not get where we want to be. So I try to stay focused and stay locked in. I’ll laugh when the job is done.”

- Defensive end Chase Young via Doug Lesmerises,

It would be very easy for Chase Young to look ahead to his incredibly bright future. A consensus early first-round NFL Draft pick, Young is perhaps the best defensive player in the country and is on the cusp of earning himself a hefty paycheck. Forward thinking is a big reason for Ohio State’s recent woes when it comes to some shocking losses — ones that ended seasons with tremendous potential. Young is not allowing himself to get caught up in the hype, and his business-like mindset is keeping him laser-focused on one week at a time.

Young was a member of last year’s Buckeye team whose lone stunning loss to Purdue kept them out of the College Football Playoff. The junior defensive end has not yet been to the playoff as a member of the 2017 class, and is aware that one fluke loss this season could end his final shot at a national title. This year’s Ohio State team looks incredibly special, dominating in all seven games so far this season. Young is not resting on the laurels of the great start, nor is he taking a moment to enjoy each win. Once one game is finished, the focus is immediately on the next.

The 6-foot-5, 265 pound edge rusher didn’t even waste a second soaking in Friday’s big 52-3 victory over Northwestern. With the game firmly in hand at 38-3 midway through the third quarter, Young’s day was done — but that did not mean it was time to rest. Instead, he had already started talking to strength coach Micky Marotti on the sideline about the following week’s big matchup with Wisconsin. The mentality and professionalism reminds Lesmerises of one Michael Thomas, who helped lead Ohio State to its National Championship in 2014 and is now the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

Young is tied atop the leaderboard with 9.5 sacks on the year, despite barely having played much into the second half yet this season, with 10.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He has been absolutely wrecking games on the field, but it is his leadership off the field that can really get the Buckeyes to the next level. Young has already solidified himself as an elite NFL prospect, but is intent on staying locked in and getting his team into the playoff. Until then, you won’t see him getting ahead of himself or soaking in the moment. He’ll “laugh when the job is done.”

Looking at one Buckeye already playing at the next level, former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley is on the move. It was reported Monday afternoon that the third-year defensive back has been traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Houston Texans in exchange for a third-round pick.

Conley was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and after battling injuries his rookie year had looked like the Raiders best corner a year ago. The DB lead the team in 2018 with 15 pass breakups, as well as a team-high three interceptions including one for a touchdown. However, Conley has struggled mightily this season, and so the new regime has decided to move on.

Interestingly enough, Oakland will travel to Houston to take on the Texans this Sunday, giving Conley an instant chance at revenge.

Basketball season is right around the corner, and the Lady Bucks are less than two weeks away from their first exhibition game of the year. One star to lookout for on the court this season is sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz, who has been named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Hailing all the way from Hungary, Juhasz led the team a season ago in both scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Juhasz played in 27 of the team’s 29 games in 2018, recording 12 double-doubles over that span — good for fourth in the Big Ten. The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 11.7 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting over 45 percent from the floor. Her 6.6 defensive boards per game was the most by any freshman in the conference. She also came up big on the defensive end, finishing second on the team with 33 steals.

“Sporting News’ Week 9 bowl projections are here, and for the first time this season it looks like Alabama-Clemson V is on hold. We moved Ohio State into the College Football Playoff championship game against Alabama, which would be an incredible rematch from the 2015 Sugar Bowl.”

- Bill Bender,

Ohio State continues to shoot up every poll and playoff prediction as they keep tossing every team they play into the dumpster. The latest projection by Sporting News has the four-team postseason bracket matching the Buckeyes up against the Clemson Tigers in the first round, with Alabama taking on Oklahoma on the other side. The projection has both the Bucks and the Crimson Tide coming away victorious, setting up an Ohio State-Alabama rematch of the 2015 Sugar Bowl.

This is certainly not that only projection that has the two programs as the top teams in the nation, as the powerhouses are at the top of almost every ranking system outside the actual polls. Ohio State ranks No. 1 in FPI at 31.7, with Alabama right behind at 29.9. They are the two most efficient teams in the nation, with OSU at the top at 98 percent and Bama at No. 2 with a 94.9 percent efficiency.

The Buckeyes are once again leading the pack in SP+ rating, featuring the No. 1 defense and No. 5 offense in the country for a 33.3 rating. The Crimson Tide are right behind them, as their No. 7 defense and No. 3 offense put them at 32.2.

Other notable New Years Six bowls in the Sporting News projection include Oregon vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl, LSU vs. Baylor in the AllState Sugar Bowl as well as Georgia vs. Virginia in the Capital One Orange Bowl. It also has Notre Dame taking on SMU in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.

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