Chase Young is going pro.
On the heels of a historic season and a run to the College Football Playoff, Young announced his plan to forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL draft on Friday.
James 1:17... Buckeye For Life... pic.twitter.com/symHLRRuCB— CY2 (@youngchase907) January 3, 2020
Young was widely regarded as the most dominant defensive player in the country this past season, setting Ohio State's single-season sack record with a nation-best 16.5 sacks while playing in 12 games. The Maryland native was selected as a unanimous All-American.
With such a dominant 2019 campaign, Young became the rare defensive player to garner legitimate Heisman Trophy buzz. Despite a late-season suspension that forced him to miss games against Rutgers and Maryland, he became a Heisman finalist and earned the fourth-most votes, including 20 first-place votes. Before Young, no defensive player had earned a trip to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in 2012.
Young captured the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given to the nation's best defensive player, joining James Laurinaitis as the second Buckeye to earn the honor. He became the first Ohio State player to win the Chuck Bednarik Award, also given to the best defensive player in the country, and the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the top defensive end. He earned more than 90 percent of votes for the Hendricks Award, the largest percentage since it was first awarded in 2002.
Young also won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, which honors the top player in the Big Ten as selected by the conference's coaches.
He finishes his collegiate career with 98 total tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss and 30.5 sacks, the second-most in Ohio State history.
Young is considered to be the top prospect in the 2020 NFL draft and is widely expected to be selected by the Washington Redskins with the No. 2 overall pick – the same spot fellow former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was selected last year – as the Cincinnati Bengals are projected to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall.
Undoubtedly, Young will come off the board early during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on April 23 in Las Vegas.
The loss of Young will put Larry Johnson in the unenviable position of replacing the nation's best pass-rusher, defensive end and defensive player. Jonathon Cooper, returning for his fifth year, will combine with rising sophomore Zach Harrison and rising junior Tyreke Smith to lead Ohio State's defensive end rotation, while Tyler Friday, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Noah Potter and Alex Williams are also candidates for increased playing time.
It's nearly impossible to imagine anybody on the team being quite the individual force that Young was in 2019, so the Buckeyes will need a group of defensive ends to make significant strides in 2020 to make up for his departure.
Young becomes the third member of Ohio State's class of 2017 to announce he is entering the 2020 NFL draft, joining J.K. Dobbins and Jeff Okudah. Shaun Wade is set to announce on Saturday at noon whether he plans to join them or stay at Ohio State for another year.