Nick Bosa long ago put aside most thoughts of a 20-sack season. Sometimes he thinks about numbers like that. He knows with the defensive line rotation the Ohio State Buckeyes use, his numbers will never reach that level — not in 2017, at least.
“We’ll see next year,” Bosa said.
Bosa’s older brother Joey, now in his second season with the San Diego Chargers, recorded 26 sacks in three seasons at Ohio State. Nick had five sacks last season as a true freshman. He has four this season. He leads the Big Ten with 10 tackles for a loss and ranks 12th in the nation with 1.7 tackles for loss per game.
Bosa’s numbers are even more impressive considering he’s sharing time with Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, Tracy Sprinkle, Dre’Mont Jones, Robert Landers and others.
Any one of those players could put up big numbers if they played more. All of them know the team will be better because they share the load.
“I’m happy for all my guys,” Bosa said. “I know Ty and Sam and Jalyn are all going to get drafted and go do big things. I’m excited for everyone. We’ve accepted it. We realize that the pro scouts see the plays you do play and they know if you’re the real deal or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing 1,000 reps like some of these teams are. We’re flying every single time and giving it everything we have. It looks a lot better on film.”
Bosa put a highlight on film Saturday in Ohio State’s 62-14 victory over Maryland at Ohio Stadium. On Maryland’s third offensive play, with Ohio State already leading 7-0, Bosa sacked quarterback Max Bortenschlager, forcing a fumble. Linebacker Jerome Baker picked it up and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.
Bosa told the story behind the sack Tuesday after practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He admitted he didn’t know the play when he took the field because he wasn’t sure which of his teammates was calling the play.
“I looked over at (Tyquan), and it was supposed to be a certain play where I was supposed to do something,” Bosa said. “Instead I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just rushed and got the sack.”
Players like Bosa can make that happen. He was the third-ranked recruit in the nation in the class of 2016, according to ESPN, and was following in the footsteps of his brother, a two-time consensus All-American. Still, he’s living up to the hype.
“He’s a force,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “Our expectations are very high for Nick. He keeps meeting those expectations. What we do is keep raising them a little bit. Really in everything we do here, if it’s going well, enhance it and make it better.”