Three of Ohio State's defensive ends from last season will be on NFL rosters this season after they were taken in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. That's more players than there are starting spots.
That in itself is impressive, but what's even more mind boggling is that you can expect Ohio State's defensive line to have even more talent this coming season, particularly at the starting positions.
The Buckeyes had perhaps the deepest group of defensive ends in program history last season. The two-deep at the position would start at most other programs throughout the country, and in many situations, so could the three deep.
At the top of the lineup were three experienced veteran leaders – Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes – all of whom will be playing in the NFL next season. But behind them, in terms of raw talent potential, were some of the top defensive ends Ohio State has ever recruited. And those are the players Buckeye fans will see on the field this season, with an extra season of development under their belts.
Five-star Nick Bosa was the top defensive end in the 2016 class and is currently projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year's NFL Draft. He'll headline the defensive line, and playing opposite of him is five-star Chase Young, the No. 2 defensive end in the 2017 class.
Bosa and Young together will be the highest-rated pair of pass rushers since Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus.
Those two will play the bulk of the snaps at defensive end, but rotating in will be Jashon Cornell and Jonathon Cooper, both of whom were composite five-star prospects at one point in their recruitment.
None of those players except Bosa saw much action in meaningful moments last year. They all sat behind Lewis, Hubbard and Holmes – none of whom were nearly as highly rated coming out of high school, but earned their playing time with development and consistency throughout their careers.
That's the absurd depth the Buckeyes had last year: veterans at the top, young five-star prospects behind them. Now, with the veterans moving on to the next level, the torch is passed to those young guns.
From a pure ratings standpoint, Ohio State is getting much better at the top of the lineup. The Buckeyes are replacing three players it just sent to the NFL with players who were significantly higher rated coming out of high school and have shown even more promise and potential than last year's starters.
Star ratings aren't everything – these players still have to perform, still have to be consistent, and still have to grow into the leadership roles that made Lewis, Hubbard and Holmes so valuable.
But the stage is set for them to take Ohio State's defensive line to the next level, and with the way the line has already been playing the past few seasons, it's scary to even think about what that means.