The 2016 CFB Huddle Countdown’s paid homage to the 1930s and early 1980s two inductions in. Why don’t we get a little more 97 days out from the start of the season with No. 97, Joey Bosa.
The newly minted San Diego Charger traded in scarlet and gray for blue and gold, much to the relief of Big Ten quarterbacks. Bosa made himself every bit as much at home in opposing backfields as he was lining up on the Ohio State defensive line.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL COUNTDOWN: NO. 98 JOEY BOSA, DE, OHIO STATE
Of all the voids 2016 draftees leave on their college rosters, Bosa’s might be the biggest. Buckeyes defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is tasked with replacing production to the tune of 50.5 tackles for loss; 26 sacks; 24 quarterback hurries; and five fumbles forced, Bosa’s statistical output in his three-year career.
Were it not for the transcendent level at which Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright played in 2014, Bosa would have won the Bronko Nagurski Award for national defensive player of the year in a walk. Ultimately though, I imagine Bosa regards his runner-up finish the same way he commemorated sacks; with a shrug.
Bosa’s 2014 and career both will go down among the best in college football history — if they haven’t already.
The exploits of Ohio State’s No. 97 were well-documented over three seasons, during which the Buckeyes lost just three total games. Just ask fellow first-round draft pick Ronnie Stanley, the Notre Dame offensive lineman tasked with blocking Bosa in January’s Fiesta Bowl.
Stanley told reporters he fielded “a million” Bosa questions in the lead-up to the New Year’s Day clash.
So celebrated was Bosa in his time at Ohio State, even the President rocked his trademark celebration when the national champion Buckeyes visited the White House last spring.
Whomever takes over that role as Ohio State’s chief pass-rusher can’t fill Bosa’s No. 97, regardless the new end’s number. He also shouldn’t be expected to produce at that same level.
Jalyn Holmes, who emerged as a candidate to start in Bosa’s vacated spot, told Tim Shoemaker of Eleven Warriors it’s a job for more than one Buckeye.
“You can’t really replace him. … We just gotta go hard every day, work on fundamentals and we’re going to make a name for ourselves and fill our own shoes.”
That’s a wise course of action. It may well be a very long time before college football sees another No. 97 quite like Joey Bosa.