The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
After Ohio State signed a pair of top-35 prospects at defensive end in the 2016 class — Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper — it became quite clear the position wasn't a serious need for 2017.
The Buckeyes figured out early on they were just going to take one in a tight 2017 group, so they zeroed in on their main target: Hyattsville, Maryland five-star Chase Young.
THE YOUNG FILE
- CLASS: 2017
- SIZE: 6-5/251
- POS: DE
- SCHOOL: DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
- COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★★★
- COMPOSITE RANK: 2 (WSDE)
Ohio State offered Young a scholarship in early September of 2015, which signified the Buckeyes were rather high on the DeMatha Catholic star. Alabama offered the same day as Young's recruitment officially began to blow up. He became one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.
Despite the national attention and offers from nearly every big-time program, however, many pegged Maryland, the hometown school, as the team to beat early in Young's recruitment. He visited the Terps a handful of times with his DeMatha teammates and it just seemed there was a natural pull there.
Young visited Ohio State in early April of 2016 for a spring practice, though, and that's where things seemed to turn in favor of the Buckeyes. Young developed a strong relationship with Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson, as well as head coach Urban Meyer, and it became clear he was Ohio State's top — and only — target at the position for this class.
— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) February 1, 2017
Young had a standout junior season and carried that over to the summer camp circuit. He unofficially visited both Maryland and Alabama on more than one occasion following his trip to Columbus in the spring, but the Buckeyes continued to be the leader in his recruitment. Then, Young opted to return for Ohio State's annual Friday Night Lights camp in July.
He was on commitment watch going into the weekend and Young wound up pulling the trigger near the end of the event.
“I didn’t know I was going to commit,” Young said after making his decision, “but I had a feeling in my head that Ohio State was where I wanted to go so I just made the choice today.”
Young's relationship with Johnson, Meyer and even freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins — who hails from the same area — helped the five-star prospect feel comfortable at Ohio State. That's ultimately what made Young pull the trigger.
From there, it was a monstrous senior season for Young and an Army All-American invite. Young's stock in the recruiting rankings rose, too, as he continually dominated against top competition.
Reports out of the Army game had Young as arguably the best defensive player in attendance and he finished the recruiting cycle as the No. 8-ranked player in the country and the No. 2 defensive end — behind only UCLA pledge Jaelan Phillips.
Ohio State is loaded at defensive end in 2017 as the Buckeyes return their top four at the position from last season: Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes and Bosa. Cooper figures to be more involved in the rotation, too.
Young is not an early enrollee so he will not be on campus until June, but with his frame and skill set, he should be ready to contribute immediately — at least in some capacity.
Because of Ohio State's depth at defensive end, Young likely won't have a huge impact as a true freshman. But after the Buckeyes lose Lewis, Holmes and likely Hubbard following this season, he's going to be a huge part of Ohio State's defensive line for years to come.
The Buckeyes didn't just make Young a priority in the 2017 cycle. They made him the priority and now, he's officially a member of Ohio State's loaded recruiting class.