Ohio State recruiting: Defensive linemen still on top of wish list for Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio ― The Ohio State defensive line isn’t in any danger of going broke, but the riches might not be quite as embarrassing next season.

No team with Nick Bosa and Chase Young returning as the starters at end will have any reason to complain, and simply having that talented pass-rushing tandem alone would make most programs jealous of the Buckeyes.

But for a unit that has emerged as perhaps the deepest, most talented in the nation and routinely flaunts that wealth with a rotation that keeps all of those linemen fresh and involved, it’s time to start planning for the future. And while Ohio State surely realized that even before the decommitment last week of Brenton Cox, there’s almost certainly more urgency now as the early signing period continues to creep closer with a class that currently doesn’t include a defensive end at all.

Ohio State somewhat unexpectedly was able to get another year from Tyquan Lewis, and it could have conceivably lost both Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard to the NFL after last season as well. But Lewis and Holmes have exhausted their eligibility now, and Hubbard remains highly unlikely to use his final year even while publicly indicating he hasn’t made up his mind yet. And while Bosa has no choice but to stick around, there’s also a possibility that Dre’Mont Jones could declare for the draft after the Cotton Bowl, which would be yet another blow for position coach Larry Johnson that could complicate matters even more in the short term.

Now, it can’t be understated how valuable another year with a Bosa in the lineup will be for the Buckeyes. He has already been honored as the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, and he’s going to head into his junior season on the short list for every major defensive award in the nation. And after Young’s emergence as a freshman, those bookends are going to be a handful for any offensive line. And along with Jonathon Cooper, Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell, there’s a solid nucleus for Johnson to build around heading into 2018.

Ohio State football-Ohio State Buckeyes-Nick Bosa-NFL projections-Big Ten
Nick Bosa will be back for what will likely be his last season with Ohio State. (Land of 10/file photo)

But like his brother before him, Bosa will head into next season with it practically guaranteed to be his last at Ohio State. So, it’s imperative for the Buckeyes to be loading up the pipeline behind him now.

That likely means dialing up the efforts with targets such as Jayson Oweh or Tyreke Smith. Landing one would be significant. Getting both would be a jackpot for Johnson, who continues to show his knack for maximizing talent at that important edge position and is one of the most appealing parts of Ohio State’s sales pitch.

It’s hard to imagine why anybody wouldn’t want to play for Johnson, given his track record of developing NFL defenders combined with the way he uses those players while they’re still in the program ― thanks to that rotation that tends to go at least eight players deep and sometimes more.

If the Buckeyes are going to keep doing that successfully, they’re going to need to pick up a couple of defensive ends down the stretch. The time to invest in the future for Ohio State’s richest position group has arrived.

The post Ohio State recruiting: Defensive linemen still on top of wish list for Buckeyes appeared first on Land of 10.

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