Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said Monday he still hoped star Nick Bosa would return to the Buckeyes at some point this season.
Almost exactly 24 hours later, the school announced the All-American defensive end plans “to withdraw from school in order to devote more time to his rehabilitation and training efforts.”
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Bosa has been out since suffering a core muscle injury during Ohio State's win over TCU on Sept. 15.
He had surgery the following week and was declared out for an indefinite time period. When — or if — he might be cleared to play again is unknown publicly at this time.
“I was hopeful that Nick would be able to return to play again for us,” Meyer said in a team release. “I know this was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for Nick and his family, and I wish him well as he moves on to get himself 100 percent healthy and ready for his next chapter. I want to thank Nick for the remarkable efforts he gave for this program. He is a first-class young man who we have been honored to coach.”
Later on the weekly Big Ten coaches conference call, Meyer said he was very emotional when he learned of the decision.
“We love Nick,” Meyer said. “The Bosa family has obviously been obviously awesome for Ohio State and the program. Nick is a first-class guy. He’s very strong in his faith. He’s very strong academically so it was very emotional.”
A team captain who had four sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, Bosa is widely projected to be one of the first players taken in the 2019 NFL Draft — if not No. 1 overall.
The Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas graduate finishes his career with 29 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.
He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and a consensus All-American last season.
He hopes to follow older brother Joey into the NFL. Joey Bosa was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft. After a strong start to his NFL career, the elder Bosa has been sidelined this season with a foot injury.
As for who will pick up the slack in the wake of Nick Bosa’s exit, Meyer named Chase Young, Jonathon Cooper, Jashon Cornell, Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday.
“Well, the guys that have (replaced him already),” Meyer said. “Tyreke Smith is a very talented guy. I wish he were a little more established and experienced, but he’s getting better every week.”
Despite playing only roughly three of a possible 14 halves this season, Bosa is still third on the team in tackles for loss (six) and tied for second in sacks (four) despite playing only about three of a potential 14 halves this season.
Tackle Dre’Mont Jones leads the way with 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Young has eight TFLs, including four sacks, while Cooper has two tackles for loss and a sack. Smith has not been credited with a TFL yet while Friday and Cornell each have one TFL (Friday’s was a sack).
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“I think they’ve played pretty good,” he said of the defensive line in Bosa’s absence. “Obviously you take one of the best players in college football out, so that’s an issue, but overall I think they’ve played pretty good.”
Asked if highly regarded NFL prospects might make leaving early as soon as something goes wrong in their last year a trend, Meyer wasn’t sure.
“Oh I don’t know. I can understand, but haven’t really thought about it. I think every person is different, but I don’t know.”
He also was unaware of whether or not Bosa plans to be around the team at all the rest of the season.
“I think the family is still kind of working on that right now,” he said. “That might be a question for them. I’m not sure yet.”