With the college football season already four weeks in, some of the cream is already starting to rise to the top and some top players are deeming themselves worthy of the preseason hype. One player that's taken full advantage of now being the marquee player is Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. Nicknamed "The Predator", the 6-5, 265 pound edge rusher has been a force so far during the season.
The Buckeyes defense has been led by the star rusher and he's already up to 7.0 sacks this season. Vernon Gholston holds the single-season school record for sacks (14.0 - 2007) and that seems to be in serious jeopardy with the start that Young has gotten off to.
After posting his standout back-to-back strip sacks in the teams victory last week over Miami (Ohio), a constant question kept popping up -- is he better than Joey and Nick Bosa?
Having remained quiet on the issue, it made me sit back and really think about which of the three was greater. The thought provoked so much attention that I was forced to write about it because of how fascinating the discussion is between all three Buckeyes.
1. Joey Bosa
2. Nick Bosa
3. Chase Young
In terms of tools and the physical element that they bring to the game, it's important to remember Nick and Joey Bosa as prospects and not the product that they have shown to be on Sunday's. Chase Young seems to be much bigger than Joey (6-5, 269) and Nick (6-4, 266), but they all are right there together when looking at their listed measurables.
Nick and Joey's measurements were of course official measurements at the NFL Scouting Combine and those numbers are yet to be known for Young because he hasn't went through the extensive pre-draft process yet, but it's clear that his physique is quite impressive. Having nearly identical body types, the Bosa brothers weight is well proportioned, but they are known for the thickness in their lower halves.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the opposite is the case with Young. After stepping foot onto campus weighing 235 pounds, he has gained over 30 pounds in a three-year span. He also has the body capacity in order to put on more weight as he doesn't hold much weight in his lower half. His thin waist, legs, and ankles are a large reason why he's so explosive off of the line.
As far as being a pass rusher, Young possesses more burst up the field and twitch out of the starting blocks, but the Bosa's usage of their hands are on another level. Joey's hand-to-hand combat was a bit more seasoned than Nick's, but it wasn't far off. Having the hand craftiness similar to a professional boxer, both were exuberant with their hands and keen with switching up their plans of attack.
Young isn't quite there yet and he may reach their levels of hand usage one day, but for now, many of his wins are simply being more athletic and flexible than the opposition. His pass rush reps and hand usage exemplified have become more much maligned though as he's shown effective moves and execution.
1. Joey Bosa (38 games) - 148 total tackles, 51.0 tackles for loss, 26.0 sacks
2. Chase Young (26 games) - 65 total tackles, 27.0 tackles for loss, 19.0 sacks
3. Nick Bosa (29 games) - 77 total tackles, 29.0 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks
Joey obviously outproduced his counterparts, but Young's statistics are still incomplete and he's on a pace to surpass his 26 career sacks. With that being said, Joey's 148 career tackles are a credit to just how versatile he was and the value that he brought to the table as a run defender. Nick was a sustainable piece as a run defender, but his core injury following the fourth game of the season robbed him of what was set to be a career year.
Young is still figuring things out as an edge setter, but the early returns on his continued development with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson have been astounding. Young is now using his arms, vision, and awareness to eliminate perimeter runs, while also developing his strength in order to stack and shed blockers on his way to making tackles in all areas.
1. Chase Young
2. Nick Bosa
3. Joey Bosa
There's something to be said about edge rushers that possess burst up the field, but the ability to sustain it within pass rush reps are what separates the good rushers from ones in the elite category. All three candidates have the initial burst to get to throwers, but also the ankle flexion and versatility to dip-and-rip and get home to the quarterback.
While the Bosa's have more moves in their arsenal, it's clear that Young is the most athletic prospect of the three. Nick and Joey are much more polished as they were already tailor made for the next level. Young is a bit further behind and helping unlock his potential will be key. Right now, he's more of a defensive end that relies on his motor and superb athleticism over showing his still developing hands. While still attempting to free those stages of his development, he's still just only scratching the ground levels of what he could eventually turn into.
1. Chase Young
2. Joey Bosa
3. Nick Bosa
You can really flip flop either of the bottom two selections and receive no arguments from me. Both have the potential to be special players and sack artists for their respective teams for over a decade, but I think Young's upside exceeds both. His power, explosiveness, and fear factor combo have the makings of being one of the best edge rushers in the league from the moment he steps on an NFL field.
Myles Garrett has been a common comparison for Young and while he doesn't contain nearly the athleticism that Garrett showed during his time at Texas A&M, the comp. that I wrote down for Young was Julius Peppers. The future Hall of Famer was an otherworldly athlete during his time as a football and basketball star at Carolina, but as far as their skill sets and the traits that they bring to the table coming into the league, the two are nearly identical.
Peppers (6-6, 283) was a bit bigger than Young and I don't anticipate Young running a 4.74 40 time as the former star rusher did, but the traits that are already present, the way he wins around the edge and corners to quarterbacks, Young is a favorable comparison for what we saw from him as a prospect.
Chase Young is off to an unreal start in only four games, but it's not a secret that there's still some need for him to do it while facing a marquee opponent. I think it's a bit unfair to penalize him for simply taking advantage of the team that he's faced with on the schedule, but if he continues on this tear, he could firmly enter himself into the discussion to become the top overall selection next April.