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USA Today ranks Chase Young the No. 1 defensive lineman in the country

The junior DE is prepped for a big year in 2019

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

“If somewhat overshadowed across his first two seasons by former teammate Nick Bosa, Young represents the total package at end — he’s big, strong, explosive when rushing the passer, stout in run support and athletic enough to do whatever is asked from Ohio State’s defensive scheme.”

- Paul Myerberg, USA Today

As we hit the beginning of July, the college football news cycle is pretty quiet outside of recruiting, with just about two months to go until the season begins. However, as we inch closer to August, now becomes a good time to begin to debate and project just what will happen in 2019. While college football is probably one of the most unpredictable sports when it comes to team-based performance, you generally can get a good idea of which players will make a name for themselves in the upcoming season.

USA Today has begun to do just thank, breaking down the top players at each position in the FBS. Their most recent ranking, the top 10 defensive lineman, features a familiar face at the No. 1 spot: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.

Young has long been considered the next great Buckeye defensive lineman. Following in the footsteps of Joey and Nick Bosa, Young has been projected as a high first-round NFL Draft pick pretty much since he first appeared on campus. In just 22 games at OSU, he has recorded 12 sacks, 51 total tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss. He has also batted down five passes and recovered two fumbles. Now entering his junior year, and functioning as the tip of the spear along the Ohio State defensive front for the first time in his career, Young is ready to take it up a notch as he continues to wreak havoc on opposing backfields in 2019.

Young stood atop the preseason ranking, but the list did feature a few more Big Ten players. Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa came in at No. 2, while Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes and Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos came in at No. 5 and No. 10, respectively.

Chase Young wasn't done with his awards and honors for the day, as he and running back J.K Dobbins made the Sporting News Preseason All-America team. Young was selected to the first team, while Dobbins was a second team selection.

Young, earning a second team All-Big Ten selection in 2018, was a monster down the stretch last season. In Ohio State’s last three games against Michigan, Northwestern and Washington, Young combined for four sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He tied a Big Ten Championship Game record with three sacks against the Wildcats. This season, Young will look to become just the second player in program history to record multiple seasons of double-digit sacks.

Dobbins, also being named to the All-Big Ten second team in 2018, has racked up over 2,400 yards and 20 touchdowns in the first two years of his career. He is the first player ever to rush for over 1,000 yards as both a freshman and sophomore. In 28 games, Dobbins has had nine 100-yard performances, with the Buckeyes going a perfect 9-0 in those games. This season, he will function as the team’s lead back for the first time in his career, no longer splitting carries with now Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber.

Following an incident this May in which Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott pushed a security guard to the ground in Las Vegas, there has been speculation over whether or not the former Buckeye would be receiving a suspension from the NFL this season. On Wednesday, that speculation came to an end as the NFL released a statement in which Commissioner Roger Goodell determined there was “no violation of the personal conduct policy and no further action is warranted.” Elliott had previously made a public apology via his Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon, and it appears as though he has avoided a suspension.

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