Better Know a Buckeye: Nick Bosa

By Vico on May 13, 2016 at 10:10 am
Nick Bosa plays to the crowd pregame at Ohio State in 2015.

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 14th installment. We profile Nick Bosa, a strongside defensive end from the same St. Thomas Aquinas program that produced his older brother Joey.

Nick Bosa

  • Size: 6-4/265
  • Position: SDE
  • (Hometown) School: Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★★
  • National Ranking: 8
  • Position Ranking: 1 (SDE)
  • State Ranking: 2 (FL)

Ohio State's coaches had been recruiting Nick Bosa before his freshman season ended, and even before his older brother enrolled at Ohio State in the summer of 2013. Ohio State was always the center of his recruitment and analysts long expected the younger Bosa to follow in his brother's footsteps even if Nick Bosa waited until he felt the time was right. He committed in July before his senior season, choosing Ohio State over other programs like Florida and Florida State.

I retell his recruitment below and the reasons why Nick Bosa decided to play football at Ohio State like his brother and his uncle did before him. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for the top strongside defensive end prospect in the country and struggle to find many negatives in his game. I note that Nick Bosa is a prime candidate to play as a true freshman provided his post-ACL tear rehabilitation is on schedule. I conclude with some highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.


Ohio State's coaches offered Nick Bosa on November 5, 2012. Ohio State's coaches had moved so early on Nick Bosa that he was not even finished with his freshman year of high school. Joey was still a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas as well.

Recruiting analysts and even college coaches typically advise that a scholarship offer from a program like Ohio State to a high school freshman is a huge leap of faith. However, Bosa was different. He was already a playmaker as a true freshman at arguably the best high school football program in the country. MaxPreps even named him the National Freshman of the Year. His highlight film shows him dominating teams alongside his brother.

Nick Bosa's birthday is in October 1997, so some of that film you see against big programs like Don Bosco Prep and Miramar occurred when he was just 14-years-old.

Joey Bosa had already pledged to Ohio State when he was offered. Their mother was an Ohio State graduate and sister of Eric Kumerow, a former Ohio State football player and first round NFL Draft pick. Further, Nick was more the Ohio State fan in his youth than Joey was. All signs pointed to Ohio State early into the process.

There was no rush for Nick to make a decision when he was completing his freshman year of high school, though his recruitment focused on Ohio State. He visited Ohio State in the summer of 2013 for a camp and hosted Urban Meyer for an in-home visit in December of 2013. He even attended a few Orange Bowl practices as the Buckeyes prepared for Clemson.

The offers started to come the winter after his sophomore year. Florida and Notre Dame offered on January 22, 2014. Alabama offered the next day. Everyone involved knew Ohio State was the team to beat. Only Florida, still coached by Will Muschamp, appeared to emerge as any kind of challenger for Ohio State. Even then, Nick Bosa was still visiting Ohio State regularly. He visited Ohio State twice in the spring of 2014 and twice during Ohio State's 2014 football season.

Nick Bosa's recruitment was nearing its conclusion after his junior year ended. Only one team remained as a challenger to Ohio State: Florida State. The Seminoles' coaches had put on a full court press to woo Bosa from the Buckeyes' grasp. Florida State's defensive coaches—Brad Lawing, Bill Miller, and Charles Kelly—all worked hard to get Bosa to visit Florida State's campus. He requited that interest when he spoke well of his time in Tallahassee and even noted his recruitment was "pretty much just OSU and FSU" in the summer before his senior year.

Even then, crystal ball projections were unanimous for Ohio State before he committed. Twitter interactions between Nick Bosa and his older brother seemed to suggest Nick was more interested in securing Joey's Xbox in the event the older Bosa declared early for the draft than he was in looking at other programs.


Nick Bosa committed to Ohio State on July 23, 2015, just four days after his trip to Florida State. He enjoyed his time in Tallahassee but knew he felt more comfortable at Ohio State.

It may have been no surprise that Nick Bosa chose to commit to Ohio State. His brother was a star there and his mother was an alumnus. The Buckeyes had also just won the first College Football Playoff national championship. Still, there were multiple factors that led Nick Bosa to Ohio State that are worth sharing.

One, Nick Bosa is close friends with his brother. That may sound trivial but it's worth noting that there was never an aspect of sibling rivalry in the relationship among the brothers. Joey wanted his younger brother to follow him and Nick wanted it too.

The Bosas also loved Larry Johnson. Both were upset that Mike Vrabel left the program after Joey Bosa's freshman year but were pleased with the addition of veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Joey Bosa's second-year development under Larry Johnson impressed Nick Bosa and his father, John.

Nick Bosa had no shortage of offers to consider but largely chose Ohio State over in-state powers Florida and Florida State.


For better or worse, Nick Bosa's career at Ohio State will be defined by his brother's career that preceded his arrival on campus. They both play the same position. They were both five-star prospects. John Bosa was obviously diplomatic on the topic, noting that his older son was elite beyond his comprehension while his younger son has all the tools to be as good. Cris Carter, an assistant coach at St. Thomas Aquinas, went with an even bolder take when Nick Bosa was still a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas.

"I can't say it because Joey will get mad, but the little brother might be better than Joey."

They're both similar prospects though I will eschew direct comparisons beyond a statement of Nick Bosa's frame. They both look similar and were equally disruptive in their high school film, though Nick's frame is much more compact. The younger brother looks smaller at a similar stage in development, but that's not quite right and Nick Bosa still has a great reach and length. Joey Bosa is just "longer" than his younger brother.

There are still many reasons Nick Bosa is a five-star prospect and top-ten in the country regardless of position. He is a phenomenal prospect.

He's excellent in run support. He has a great first step and fires off low. He plays traps particularly well too. He disrupts blocking assignments so well that he's a threat to stop a run play in the backfield by himself. He'll be the kind of strongside defensive end that commands double teams as his development progresses. He can be that good.

He shows interesting potential as a pass rusher too. Don't confuse him for a speed or edge rusher because that's not who he is. Still, he can disrupt pockets with his quickness and strength. He shows much better awareness of how to use his hands in a pass rush than other college football prospects at his position.


Nick Bosa has a great blend of quickness and strength, but I don't think anything I've seen or read about him characterizes him as "explosive". That's the only negative I can find any evaluation of him. He won't be the most athletic defensive end in college football, but that won't be a major issue given everything else he does well. I made a similar comment about Joey Bosa when I profiled him several years ago and Ohio State fans may remember that it did not matter much to Bosa's development.

There might be residual worries about his knee bend after his ACL tear. He always had a good knee bend, but never great. At this point, I'm grasping for negatives.


The only concern for Nick Bosa right now is his ACL tear he suffered his senior year in high school. Surgery went well and he's apparently ahead of schedule on his recovery. If so, expect Nick Bosa to play as a true freshman like his brother did before him.


These are from his junior year.


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