Revisiting Five Predictions Made Ahead of the 2018 Ohio State Football Season

By Chris Lauderback on January 27, 2019 at 10:30 am
Jordan Fuller led Ohio State in tackles in 2018, just as I said he would.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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What good are predictions if you don't go back and examine how they panned out?

Over the last few seasons, I've offered up five predictions for the upcoming Ohio State football campaign and made sure to check myself with a follow-up article. 

With Ohio State's 2018 season in the books following a 12-1 season capped by a Rose Bowl victory over Washington, I'm actually a little past due in looking back on my wild guesses which were made last February

Before running down how my prognostications for last season fared, I do want to encourage you to fess up – good or bad – with how your own prophecies turned out in the comments. 

With that, let's get to it. 


RASHOD BERRY WILL NOT ONLY STAY AT TIGHT END, HE'LL TOP MARCUS BAUGH'S 2017 NUMBERS

Welp, we're not off to a great start. 

Berry did stay at tight end after talk that he might shift to defensive end but he tallied just nine grabs for 78 yards and two touchdowns whereas Baugh went for 28 catches for 304 yards and five scores in 2017. 

I was banking on the typical hype around a true freshman being a little overcooked, which was true with regard to Jeremy Ruckert but I was also banking on Berry staying ahead of then-redshirt sophomore Luke Farrell and that didn't turn out to be case. 

Farrell led Ohio State tight ends posting 20 receptions for 205 yards with one touchdown. Berry was maybe the team's best blocking tight end but I expected him to blossom as a pass catcher and hey, who knows, maybe he'll take a step forward this fall as a redshirt senior. 

Either way, this one was a miss but I still think a dialed-in Berry could play on Sundays though I'll stay away from making any wild proclamations about him when I throw out my 2019 season predictions later this year. 

JORDAN FULLER WILL BECOME JUST THE SECOND SAFETY SINCE 2001 TO LEAD OSU IN TACKLES

And Bingo was his name-o

I might break my elbow patting myself on the back for this one because it was fairly bold when you consider history. 

Ohio State hadn't seen a safety lead the team in tackles since Mike Doss turned the trick back in 2001 (and 2000, ICYMI) but I felt Fuller had a chance to make history for a few reasons. 

First, we all knew the linebacking corps was going to be a work in progress.

Second, Fuller almost led the team in tackles in 2017, finishing just two stops shy of Jerome Baker, despite missing some time with injury including a DNP versus Illinois. 

Fuller may have had some ups and downs this past season but for better or worse, he did ensure my prediction came through with 81 tackles, tying Malik Harrison for most on the team. For the second year in a row, he also led the squad in solo stops (61). 

DEMARIO MCCALL FINALLY MAKES HIS MARK - ON SPECIAL TEAMS

This one was more miss than hit but there's no doubt McCall indeed made his mark on special teams a few times last season. 

He finished the year with 10 kickoff returns for 195 which ranked second behind Johnnie Dixon, the man he supplanted as the team's primary kickoff returner following the Maryland game. 

With Ohio State trailing 45-38 with just 1:40 left in the fourth quarter and the season on the brink, McCall peeled off a clutch 42-yard return, shortening the field for what became a game-tying touchdown drive before the Buckeyes finally prevailed 52-51 in overtime. 

Demario kickoff return

Obviously, McCall wasn't as effective a week later with a muffed kickoff return giving Michigan brief hope in what became a 62-39 beatdown before returning his final two kickoffs for 43 total yards in the Big Ten title victory over Northwestern. 

Again, McCall didn't have the year I thought he would since he wasn't the primary kickoff return man all season but there's no denying the mark he left on the Maryland win.

JEFFREY OKUDAH LEAPFROGS DAMON ARNETTE AND KENDALL SHEFFIELD AS TEAM'S BEST CB

Okudah got off to a bit of a slow start but he was part of the cornerback rotation all season. 

Damon Arnette (40) and Kendall Sheffield (35) both finished with more tackles than Okudah's 34 but Okudah tied Sheffield for the team lead in PBUs with eight. 

Okudah also failed to record a pick during the 2018 campaign while Sheffield (2) and Arnette (1) both cracked the column. In fact, nickelback Shaun Wade led the team with three interceptions. 

Numbers aside, by the end of the season, I think you could at least make a sane argument that Okudah leapfrogged Arnette as a cover man, if not Sheffield too. 

NICK BOSA AND CHASE YOUNG BOTH RECORD AT LEAST 10.0 SACKS

This one comes with a bit of an asterisk as Bosa played just 2.5 games, suffering a season-ending injury on the third play of the second half against TCU. 

In those 2.5 games, Bosa was dominant with 4.0 sacks, not to mention 6.0 TFL, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. I think it's safe to say Bosa would've had well over 10 sacks had he stayed healthy but alas, he did not. 

On the other side of the line, Chase Young entered 2018 coming off a 3.5-sack effort the previous season. 

With Bosa out, Young was a bit streaky in last season but still managed to tally 10.5 sacks along with 15.5 TFL, nine hurries and five PBUs. 

So there you have it. One bullseye, one dud, and a mixed bag after that. What about you? Celebrate your prophecies and own up to your swings and misses. 

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