Skull Session: Blocking Chase Young, Ohio State's Success With Three-Stars, and Buckeyes Among the Nation's Best

By Kevin Harrish on July 25, 2019 at 4:59 am
It's a where's waldo of Ohio State freshman student athletes in today's skull session.

I have just learned that we are inside a month until college football is upon us. We're closer than we've been all year!


Word of the Day: Troth.

 ONE AND TWOS. Subjective List Season™ rolls on with another nation's top players list.

This one includes the usual suspects – both of Ohio State's No. 2s – but has the pretty unique addition of the starting quarterback that isn't the starting quarterback yet.

From Bill Bender of Sporting News:

#40 Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

There's no way we would leave Fields off the list - not with the enormous potential he has in Ryan Day's offense. He has big shoes to fill with Dwayne Haskins off to the NFL, but Fields could be a blend of Haskins and former Ohio State record-setter J.T. Barrett once he gets comfortable. The talent is there, and Field will have more than enough big games to put it on display.

#35 J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

Dobbins didn't have a monster sophomore season, but Ohio State's throwback is the undisputed lead back for the Buckeyes now, and should get a heavier workload as a result. Fields' presence in the read-option will open up bigger lanes for Dobbins, who averages 5.8 yards per carry for his career.

#12 Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Young is the next first-round defensive end at Ohio State. He flashed that talent with a breakout sophomore season that included 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, including a game-clinching tackle against Penn State. The addition of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will add new wrinkles to his game. Young is primed for a huge year.

I'm absolutely a Justin Fields stan and have been since before he transferred to Ohio State, but I wouldn't even be comfortable calling him the best current Buckeye player wearing his jersey number, because Jeffrey Okudah is about to be a first-round pick.

Also, we're just gonna ride with Chase Young as the No. 12 player in the nation when most early mock drafts have him as a top-three pick? That's... certainly bold and creative.

 BLOCKING THE PREDATOR. Speaking of Chase Young, it's bad enough to have to block him once in your life, but some poor souls are going to have to block him multiple times in their college careers.

This is their story.

From Stephen Means of

“He’s very athletically gifted for a guy that size,” Rutgers offensive lineman Zach Venesky said of Young. “He plays to the whistle. He’s a hard-nosed football player.”


“We’ll watch their moves,” Michigan’s Ben Bredeson said. “We’ll watch what they like to do, and we’ll adjust to that from there. ... Obviously, if we’re playing a guy like Nick Bosa or Chase Young, you just need to be extra tight on your fundamentals and know exactly what they’re going to do.”

Even when you know exactly what he’s going to do, it can still be a tough task in executing the game plan. Young made only registered two tackles in his first game against the Wolverines, but he made plenty of impact plays, one of which led to a Shea Patterson interception.

"He's bigger than you think," Bredeson said. "He's taller than you think, he's got some length to him. He's a great player."

If Chase Young is truly bigger than I think he is and taller than I think he is, he would probably have to be the literal Predator because I've seen him with my own two eyes and I personally think he's pretty damn Sasquatchian.

He looks like he was assembled in a lab. I would want absolutely no part in purposefully standing in front of him like Venesky and Bredeson have to do, but I'd be even less keen to be folded across his shoulder like a rag doll, like their respective quarterbacks inevitably will.

Good luck Big Ten offensive linemen. God help you, Big Ten quarterbacks.

 ZEROS TO HEROS. Ohio State doesn't take a lot of three-star prospects, but when they do, they usually pan out.

From Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade:

The names Cardale Jones, Michael Thomas, Pat Elflein, Tyvis Powell, Jacoby Boren, Darron Lee, Gareon Conley, Chris Worley, Sam Hubbard, Malik Hooker, Joe Burrow, DaVon Hamilton, Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, Jordan Fuller, Thayer Munford, Sevyn Banks, and Chris Olave may mean national championship-winning quarterback, All-American, or first-round draft pick. They’re also all Meyer recruits who were unheralded three-stars.

Banks and Olave, two heroes from last year’s beatdown of Michigan, are the most recent examples of Pantoni and OSU coaches mining Ohio and the rest of the country for talent to fit their scheme and program. 

Three-star recruits are oftentimes the backbone of a class and become integral on championship teams. What makes Ohio State’s hit percentage so remarkable is that a bulk of their classes — the Buckeyes ranked in the top five nationally in all but one year under Meyer — were stockpiled with four- and five-stars, meaning they had a better than 90 percent success rate with less acclaimed players.


There’s no philosophical change under Day — Ohio State still cares about recruiting rankings and wants to sign the best players. One thing OSU will not do, however, is star search, the practice of signing highly rated players simply to boost their team recruiting ranking. If the Buckeyes hone in on someone and conclude that the player can be coached up to succeed, an offer will be extended.

I don't know about "90 percent success rate" because there's just no way that's true. Hell, fewer than 90 percent of Ohio State's three-star players have even finished their careers as Buckeyes.

But the larger point is undeniably true. I combed through Ohio State's recruiting classes since 2012 and yeah, the strong majority of Ohio State's three-star signees went on to become meaningful contributors, and a good number of them are currently in the NFL.

That's insane.

It also makes it a bit harder to complain about three-star players the Buckeyes don't sign who become stars elsewhere, cause it's not like the guys they're nabbing instead aren't panning out.

Contrary to expectations, Ohio State can't have every single five-star player and diamond in the rough, but honestly what they've been doing is about as close as it gets.

 QUITE A CONUNDRUM! This poll, brought into my life by Eleven Warriors user TMac in his forum post, is giving me some mid-week, offseason joy.

Looks like we're all on the same page because I too would like Michigan to go 11-1 and lose to Ohio State! Big Ten solidarity.

I'm enjoying the hell out of just how ready and Michigan fans are to watch their team lose to Ohio State again as long as the rest of the season is hopeful and enjoyable.

"I would prefer to be full of hope and life at some point this year before it's inevitably all sucked from me again." – Michigan fans, basically.

Eat at Arby's.

 WHERE'S WALDO? It looks like Ohio State's freshmen student athletes got one hell of an introduction to their new home with perhaps the most delightful and helpful professor on campus.

Nicole Kraft signed me into her classes when red tape made scheduling impossible, fed me animal crackers when I forgot to eat actual meals, and had regular dinners at her house for me and all the rest of her students.

I'd say she taught me everything I know, but I'm not about to put that stain on her. All I know is that she's the best possible professor for those folks to meet first.

Also, that photograph is absolutely fantastic. It's like a Where's Waldo? of Ohio State freshmen athletes. Can you find Dawand Jones?

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A Iowa carpenter died a secret millionaire then willed his fortune to sending 33 strangers to college... Opening day at Disneyland photos from 1955... How our brains can trick us into making bad choices... "Motion Smoothing" is a default setting on most TVs, and it's ruining the way we experience film... Wikipedia doesn't know what to do with almost famous people... Laugh tracks actually do make jokes funnier...

View 53 Comments