NEW YORK – No, Chase Young doesn’t actually have a plan in place to stay at Ohio State for his senior year.
That was the dubious claim TMZ made on Saturday morning after one of its reporters ambushed Young on Friday night – while he was walking through Times Square with his mother – and asked him if he was going back to school. The Buckeyes’ superstar defensive end, evidently disinterested in the unscheduled interview, muttered a three-word response – “That’s the plan” – that led to headlines across several media outlets on Saturday that Young would not enter the 2020 NFL draft, after all.
Young clarified before the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday night, though, that no such plan actually exists.
“That moment was just a real spontaneous moment,” Young said. “It caught me off-guard. But I’m not even really worried about anything in the future. I’m just worried about beating Clemson right now.”
Unless you believe every single thing you read on the Internet, you should have already known that such a plan was unlikely. Young is fully expected to be a top-five pick in the 2020 NFL draft – likely, the first non-quarterback selected if not the No. 1 overall pick – and it would come as a massive surprise if he doesn’t declare for the draft after his junior season.
For right now, though, Young doesn’t want to think about that. That was already clear on Friday, during his first pre-Heisman interview session in New York, when he was asked several questions about his potential NFL future. If all goes according to plan, Young will still play in two more games for Ohio State this season – the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson, and the national championship game – and that’s what he’s focused on right now.
“I ain’t even really worried about the next level too much,” Young said. “If that happens, it’ll happen. I’m just worried about Clemson right now, trying to study up on them.”
Beyond the NFL draft speculation surrounding Young, Ohio State was hit with one other potential distraction this weekend as Boston College announced Saturday that it had hired Buckeyes co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley as its new head coach.
Young said Saturday, though, that Hafley will remain with the Buckeyes through the end of their season and he expects Hafley to be just as focused on the present, not the future, as he is.
“You can ask Coach Hafley right now, what’s he locked into? And that’s the next game,” Young said. “I feel like everyone is still going to be locked in, ‘cause he’s still going to be here for this season.”
Young said that while he is sad to see Hafley leave Ohio State, he’s happy that Hafley is getting the opportunity to be a head coach.
“Definitely sad he’s gone and that he will be leaving, but Coach Hafley, man, that’s a real good coach. Real good person,” Young said. “He deserves everything that he gets, ‘cause I feel like he is one of the best.”