Joey Bosa’s college career ended three quarters earlier than expected when he was ejected for targeting in the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl in 2016. His brother Nick’s college career came to a sudden end, too, when Ohio State announced Tuesday he would withdraw from the university to focus on rehabbing a core muscle injury and preparing for the NFL Draft.
After having one Bosa or the other for six straight seasons, the Ohio State Buckeyes move ahead with a still talented and deep defensive line, albeit one lacking a player who earned Heisman hype with his dominance in the first three games.
“You lose a player of Nick’s ability … there’s not anyone else like him,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said after practice Tuesday. “But again that’s the nature of competitive athletics.”
Ohio State still has a number of NFL prospects on the defensive line, starting with Dre’Mont Jones and Chase Young. The group has played without Bosa for four games and will continue to do so for five more regular-season games and whatever postseason games lie ahead.
Bosa’s season-ending injury is probably Ohio State’s most significant since it lost quarterback Braxton Miller before the 2014 season and quarterback J.T. Barrett in the 2014 season finale. That team won the national title with a third-string quarterback, Cardale Jones.
Ohio State’s defense hopes history repeats itself. Although Bosa could never have as big of an impact on a game as a quarterback, he had four sacks in the first three games, putting him on pace to break the single-season school record of 14.
“In sports, you don’t have a choice,” Schiano said. “You play with who you have. Everyone has situations. Every once in a while, you have one of those magical years where everybody stays healthy the whole time, but especially in our sport, it’s not very common. The common phrase, I guess, is next man up. It’s probably overused, but it’s a reality in sports. The games come on Saturday nights at 7:30 whether we’re healthy, not healthy, ready, not ready. It doesn’t wait.”
Nick Bosa’s father John told WBNS, a Columbus TV station, Nick wouldn’t have returned until December if the rehabilitation had gone well. That meant Bosa would have played in one more game for Ohio State or two should the Buckeyes advance to the playoff and win a game.
Bosa decided to not risk an injury. He’ll focus on his next step. The 2019 NFL Draft starts April 25 in Nashville, Tenn.
“Everyone has to make decisions that are the best decision for them,” Schiano said. “I don’t think it’s anything new. We’ve seen it happen in the last few years, and it won’t be the last time we see it happen. Nick, I love him. I loved coaching him. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best I’ve ever coached. He’s going to heal up and be a great player at the next level. I think Nick will be a prepared guy when he gets there.”
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