COLUMBUS, Ohio — Position battles are winding down. Black stripes are flying off helmets of freshmen. Attention is starting to zero in on the season opener.
Preseason practice is wrapping up at Ohio State and it’s full speed ahead for the Aug. 31 matchup at Indiana. That also means the Camp Questions series is hitting the homestretch, and with the depth chart taking shape, that narrows the focus for our Land of 10 reporters.
All week they’ll be looking at key areas on the roster and forecasting some statistical leaders for the Buckeyes this season. Up first: Who will lead Ohio State in sacks?
Austin Ward: DE Nick Bosa
Even with the Big Ten’s defensive lineman of the year returning for one more season, this category might be one of the biggest crapshoots of any of them to project. Tyquan Lewis should be in line to build on that award-winning campaign, Sam Hubbard is poised to establish himself as a first-round draft pick and Dre’Mont Jones is generating tremendous buzz for his ability to rush the passer on the interior.
But even if it’s a dogfight just to get on the field, once Nick Bosa gets there, the sophomore defensive end is going to be a terror for opposing quarterbacks. In some ways, he might benefit from coming off the bench since he’ll be fresh for obvious passing situations that will allow him to do what he does best — unleashing his blend of size, speed and technique with his eyes solely on the passer. Just like his big brother before him, his second season on campus figures to be a productive one.
Obviously there’s an embarrassment of riches up front for the Buckeyes. With Bosa’s talent and potential, at some point it’s going to be impossible to keep him on the sideline. But even in a rotation, Bosa still has the ability to lead Ohio State in sacks this season.
Ryan Ginn: DE Tyquan Lewis
Tyquan Lewis led the Buckeyes in sacks in 2015 and then did so again last year. So why isn’t this question a slam dunk? Consider it a reflection of just how loaded the Buckeyes are on the defensive line. Bosa looked like a monster last year as a freshman and figures to be even better with a year of experience. Hubbard has NFL scouts watching his every move, and Jalyn Holmes’ wingspan makes him look like he was born to take down quarterbacks.
What I keep coming back to, though, is Lewis’ knack for finding his way to the passer. More importantly, he might be even more skilled at finishing the play once he gets there. His game-winning sack against Wisconsin last year is a great example of what he can do. And yet, despite his numbers and the honors it amazingly still feels like he’s flying under the radar a bit. Having seen him put up back-to-back 8-sack seasons, I’m betting he makes it three in a row.
Previous Ohio State camp questions
The post Ohio State football: Who will lead the Buckeyes in sacks in 2017? appeared first on Land of 10.
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