In Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa, Ohio State will have four defensive ends during the 2017 season who could likely start for any team in the country. They said as much themselves this spring.
Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer essentially echoed those thoughts.
"We'll be as good as anybody in America at defensive end," Meyer said in March.
But is it possible Ohio State adds another player to that stable?
Five-star signee Chase Young will arrive in Columbus in June and Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson didn’t completely rule out the possibility Young could find his way into the rotation at defensive end this upcoming fall.
“He will have an opportunity to compete. I think that’s is the bottom line,” Johnson said at the conclusion of spring ball. “The thing that we have to be careful about, even if we have four guys returning, those four guys have got to work to keep their jobs, keep their status.”
“It’s going to be an open process, always have the ability to play the best players on the field. If [Young] walks in and is ready to go and has got a chance to help us then there is a good chance that we were going to find a way to use him.”
A native of Hyattsville, Maryland, Young is rated as the No. 8 player in the country for the 2017 class. He is the No. 2-ranked defensive end nationally behind only UCLA signee Jaelan Phillips. Young is listed at 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds — though it’s been reported he’s up near 260 now — and he looked like he physically belonged just standing on the sidelines when he visited an Ohio State practice a few weeks back.
Young committed to the Buckeyes last summer at Ohio State’s annual Friday Night Lights camp. He was nearly tackled to the ground by Johnson when he informed his future position coach about his decision. He had over 40 reported scholarship offers, but said Ohio State “always felt right in my head.”
Young is everything you want in a defensive end prospect coming out of high school.
“He has a lot of things that he brings to the table,” Johnson said. “Not only a great kid but he is a great student of the game and he really loves the game. Great football IQ. He has got some athleticism that I think that is really unique for a guy that is 6-foot-6.”
It’s going to be difficult for Young to crack Ohio State’s defensive end rotation. With four players the caliber of Lewis, Hubbard, Holmes and Bosa — and another former five-star prospect in Jonathon Cooper still waiting in the wings — that would be true of any incoming true freshman no matter how talented.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, either. And it’s pretty clear Johnson is excited about what Young can potentially bring to the table — immediately.
“No question about it,” he said.