Kyle Snyder. Nicholas Szerszen. Kelsey Mitchell.
Ohio State has seen its fair share of elite athletes who have reached the pinnacle of their sport. The three above, plus many others, graduated, leaving the next wave of Buckeye athletes to lead the way in 2018.
Let's take a look at some of the Buckeyes who are among the tops in the country at their sport heading into this year.
Nick Bosa, Football
It has been a while since Ohio State produced the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft (Orlando Pace in 1997, to be exact) but that is exactly what Bosa is trying to do this upcoming year.
After an 8.5 sack season last year, and expectations that he will only be better in 2018 due to more snaps played among other factors, the sky is the limit for Bosa.
From Matt Miller of Bleacher Report:
"Nick Bosa, from an early look, is a better prospect than his older brother Joey. He's a little twitchier as an athlete and has a little more flexibility in his hips. Where Joey is more of a traditional defensive end, Nick projects well either standing up or putting his hand in the dirt."
That's high praise to be compared as better than someone who was taken in the top-5 of his draft. Expect Bosa to be all over the college football scene this year and a #1 overall pick candidate in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Lilli Piper, Softball
A former basketball player at Akron, Piper transferred to Ohio State to play softball and has immediately become the best player in the Big Ten.
In her two seasons as a Buckeye, Piper is hitting a cumulative .413 with 38 home runs and a .462 on base percentage en route to a second-team All American spot as well as unanimous Big Ten first-team honors both seasons.
Expect Piper to have a monster season in 2018 for her final performance. If you'd like to learn more about Piper, including the fact that she is good at dancing and loves running the stairs in Ohio Stadium, click here.
Myles Martin, Wrestling
The first Ohio State true freshman to win a national championship in wrestling, and just the 15th overall, Martin has already had an illustrious career as a Buckeye.
The three-time All American is expected to now be the leader of the team after the graduations of Kyle Snyder, Nathan Tomasello and Bo Jordan.
I was able to have the chance to speak to Martin earlier this year where he told me his goals for his senior season: "This upcoming season, I want to be very dominant. Every time I wrestle, I want the kid to not want to wrestle me again. Just go after kids and not hold anything back. I want to make our team better. I want to be a leader and want to make everyone better and win a national title. That's what I'm most excited abut going into the season."
With the chance to become a four-time All American within relative reach, Martin is expected to have another big year for the WrestleBucks as they look to stay in the top tier of the NCAA Wrestling pyramid.
Shiori Fukuda, Women's Tennis
As competitive as tennis is, it is very rare for a freshman to do as well as Shiori Fukuda did on the Big Ten stage last year. After going 9-2 in Big Ten play, Fukuda was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year as well as the 2018 ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year and First-Team All Big Ten.
While the women's tennis team will look a lot different than last year, Fukuda has a chance to become one of the best players in the country and could perhaps go from First-Team All Big Ten to First-Team All American.
Ohio State is expected to have another memorable athletic year in 2018-19. New names will emerge and become dominant forces across all sports, but expect these names to make big impacts.