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Awards Watch: Chase Young is staking his claim in the postseason awards races

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Many acknowledge that Chase Young is the best player in nation, but will that make a difference in the awards race?

Wisconsin v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Buckeyes got a huge win this past weekend beating the Wisconsin Badgers 38-7 in the shoe and once again showed they are a team to be reckoned with.

The national audience not only got to witness how great Ohio State is at the moment, but they were also treated to one of the most spectacular individual performances you will ever see courtesy of defensive end Chase Young.

Young is already a consensus top 10 pick in the upcoming 2020 draft and has been dominant this entire season, but on Saturday, he somehow went to an even higher level. He had four sacks, five tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles as the Buckeye defense held Wisconsin to just 191 yards of total offense. For the season, he now has 13.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles. To put his dominance in further context, Young’s sack total is more than 39 teams so far this year. A man among boys is what he saw from Young on Saturday, and he is establishing himself as the best player in college football regardless of position.

However, what does that truly mean?

This entire weekend we heard people acknowledge Young’s greatness and often heard analysts call him the best player in the nation.

Yet when it comes to Heisman odds he wasn’t really being mentioned until this weekend. Young has been at the top of the nation in sacks all season, and his name has been well known for some time now. So it is interesting to see people suddenly highlight his incredible play. Obviously the big stage is a plus, but there’s no way people would be putting Young in such high regard base on one performance. Some could be late to the party, but it feels like most weren’t willing to step out on the ledge and proclaim Young among those deserving of awards like the Heisman.

It is easy to call Chase Young the best player in America, but when will that status begin to be appropriately rewarded for a defensive player?

At this rate, Young could find himself in New York for the Heisman, but we know his chances of winning are very slim when looking at the history. The award is more often than not given to the top-performing quarterback, and most of the time, it’s rightfully so. However, this season, much like 2011 with LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu or Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009, the best player in college football resides on the defensive side of the ball.

It easy in the NFL to continually give the MVP to a QB because, by definition, they are easily the most valuable players on any team. Even for the Buckeyes, it hard to say Young is more valuable at his position than Justin Fields. But the Heisman is (supposedly) given to the most outstanding player in college football and is often not held to that standard.

We know Charles Woodson had to play offense too in order to get a real shot when he won in 1997, but that opportunity isn’t available for Young. He will almost certainly have to reach the 20 sack benchmark, and Ohio State must remain undefeated just to stay in the running.

A sad reality, but like most of modern football the advantage is given to the offense. And as stated previously, that is usually the right call, but if Young keeps this pace he deserves a legit shot to win.

As a start, this past weekend was about as big of a statement as you can make as a defensive player, so let’s see if those who are praising Young now keep that energy as season wines down. Because he will no doubt continue to play at a high level each Saturday.


We will continue to look at all the Buckeyes players who could be in line for individual awards, so here are some guys to keep in mind:

  • Heisman: Justin Fields (currently has fourth place odds at 10/1)
  • Davey O’Brien Award: Justin Fields (semifinalist not yet announced)
  • Heisman: J.K. Dobbins (currently has sixth odds at 40/1)
  • Doak Walker Award: J.K. Dobbins (semifinalist not yet announced)
  • Jim Thorpe Award: Jeff Okudah (semifinalist)