Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: Which true freshman that played vs. Arkansas State is most likely to be an OSU legend?
Note: For this exercise, we are just going to be looking at the true freshmen that played on either offense or defense. According to Pro Football Focus, those players were defensive end Omari Abor, cornerback Jyaire Brown, defensive lineman Caden Curry, running back Dallan Hayden, defensive end Kenyatta Jackson, defensive tackle Hero Kanu, safety Kye Stokes, and offensive lineman Tegra Tshabola.
Jami’s Take: Jyaire Brown
Saturday’s game against Arkansas State saw the debuts of eight Buckeye freshmen on offense or defense, each looking for their chance to contribute to the behemoth that is Ohio State football. It can be a long way from “debut game” to “household name,” but the odds are good that at least one of these players will go on to become a Buckeye legend.
So if I were you, I’d pay attention to Jyaire Brown.
The freshman cornerback out of West Chester, Ohio, was the first member of the 2022 recruiting class, and enrolled in classes last January so he could participate in Spring practice.
Saturday, he got to show us a glimpse of what he can do.
In his Buckeye debut, Brown played every snap of the Red Wolves’ final three possessions, leading all OSU freshmen with 15 defensive snaps. He recorded one tackle.
Now, I’m by no means saying Brown is going to become an overnight Buckeye sensation. He may not even reach legendary status by the end of this season. But he’s an exceptionally hard worker who I believe knows how to play the long game, and that’s where the Buckeyes are really going to benefit.
What we got to see glimpses of from Brown on Saturday was his versatility. Give this guy some time under defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and the new secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and he has the potential to go on to be a Buckeye playmaker.
The Buckeye secondary has struggled over the last two seasons, though they seem to be in much better shape this year. This bodes well for Brown, as he will have the opportunity to learn and develop in this freshman season, while hopefully getting some snaps in during game situations.
Once he has that experience and those learning opportunities under his belt, I expect we could be looking at one of the next great Buckeye corners. Known for his dedication and hard work, he is hungry to develop, and he seems to be in the right place to do that.
Physically, Brown has the speed to stay on top of receivers in games and to disrupt catches, making him a potential menace to opposing offenses. With the right coaching, he certainly has what it takes to start in seasons to come, and I think we’re going to be hearing his name associated with momentum-shifting plays as he comes into his own as a collegiate athlete.
Ohio State’s freshman class this season is absolutely stacked. There are showy players on both sides of the ball that have the potential to take this program all the way. But don’t sleep on Jyaire Brown — he’s the real deal.
Matt’s Take: Caden Curry
Is this a trick? I feel like based on what we saw on Saturday, Jami not taking Caden Curry is some sort of gimmick. Either way, I’m not complaining. The edge rusher from Greenwood, Ind. played 12 snaps against Arkansas State on Saturday and racked up four tackles, including one for loss.
While he obviously played primarily in garbage time, Curry ranks as the second-best defensive player on Ohio State’s squad according to PFF’s grades. Ironically, he grades out behind only fellow true freshman Kenyatta Jackson.
During Tuesday’s media availability, OSU head coach Ryan Day said that Curry has flashed multiple times during camp and in the early season, adding, “The more he plays the more he’s gonna find a role for himself. He’s been productive since he got here.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said of his freshman lineman, “He’s another guy that I noticed right when I got here. His first step, he’s tough ... I think he showed that he can play, he can definitely be in the mix.”
Getting the opportunity to play as a true freshman is incredibly valuable when trying to become a Buckeye legend. Not only does it help your recognition level amongst fans, but it also allows you to acclimate to the college game faster than you would if you were only getting reps as a third-stringer or scout teamer.
Ohio State has a history of producing elite edge rushers, and while they haven’t had a dominant player at that position since Chase Young left for the NFL following the 2019 season, the pedigree is certainly there. With Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau just one year ahead of Curry, he will have the opportunity to work with, learn from, and compete for playing time against two of the best DEs in the country, giving him the opportunity to shine in his third — and potentially final — year as a Buckeye.
Also, given how defensive line coach Larry Johnson loves to rotate players across the front, there is no doubt that Curry will continue to have opportunities to play, gain experience, and grow as a beloved backup until it is his time to take the spotlight.
His athletic ability is obvious to everyone — including the OSU coaches, apparently — and as a defensive end, Caden Curry is in the best possible position to succeed given the current depth chart, Johnson’s coaching philosophy, and the program’s rich history of turning out elite edge rushers.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: Jyaire Brown
Matt: Caden Curry