After signing a pair of the nation's best defensive ends in 2016 — five-star Nick Bosa and four-star Jonathon Cooper — the position is not one of great need for Ohio State in its already-tight 2017 class.
There's one defensive end who the Buckeyes would surely take, though: five-star prospect Chase Young.
To the surprise of many in attendance, Young was not named one of the "Final Five Linemen" at The Opening over the weekend. But, by most accounts, he was one of the top defensive linemen in the entire camp and really solidified himself as one of the most coveted defensive players in the 2017 class.
Chase young. Best DE so far today be best OL from yesterday in Alex leatherwood pic.twitter.com/FMt3sNcPEp— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) July 9, 2016
Hailing from Hyattsville, Maryland, Young attends the famed DeMatha Catholic High School — one of the top programs in the country. He has over 40 scholarship offers, according to his 247Sports recruiting profile, but many consider Ohio State, Alabama and the in-state Terrapins to be the favorites to land his services.
In a recent interview at The Opening with LandOf10.com's Jeremy Birmingham, Young said his relationship with Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson is a big part of why he has so much interest in Ohio State.
“Coach Johnson, we don’t really just talk about football, we talk about life and how he will also develop me as a man and how I’d fit in their defense," Young told LandOf10.com. "We have a really good relationship. I text him a lot and I call him at least once a week.”
This should hardly come as a surprise considering Johnson's track record with developing defensive linemen — both on and off the field. After his arrival in 2014, Johnson formed an outstanding bond with former Ohio State All-American defensive end Joey Bosa, and his place on the Buckeyes' staff is a huge reason why Ohio State was able to land Nick Bosa in the 2016 class.
Johnson is spearheading the recruitment of Young, who would likely be the only defensive end the Buckeyes would take in 2017. Ohio State is already at 14 verbal commits, and the Buckeyes probably can't realistically fit any more than 20 players in their 2017 class.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Young has plenty of room to grow into his frame. He's already an outstanding pass rusher and it's no secret why he's so desperately coveted by Ohio State and others.
Young is scheduled to come back to Columbus in a couple of weeks for Ohio State's annual Friday Night Lights camp. You had better believe the Buckeyes' staff and current commits who will also be in attendance will be all over him.
Ohio State currently leads the 247Sports crystal ball predictions for Young, but the lead over Maryland is somewhat narrow. Most believe the Buckeyes are the team to beat in his recruitment, however; could the upcoming trip to Columbus be the one that seals the deal?