Statistic Resume: Started at Defensive End for Ohio State from 2013-2015, 148 total tackles, 51.0 tackles for loss, 26.0 sacks, 1 interception, 5 forced fumbles, 1 touchdown, 2014-15 Big Ten Champion and 2014-15 National Champion
Nickname: The Big Bear
I’m sorry okay. If you bothered to read the title you know that this list is going to be technically a top 11 rather than a top 10, with a tie here for the tenth spot. I just couldn’t leave either of these two guys off the list the more I thought about it. But it’s my list so who cares.
Joey Bosa was an unknown true freshman in 2013 when the no. 4 ranked Buckeyes traveled to Evanston, Illinois, to play the no. 16 ranked Northwestern Wildcats. The teams were off to 4-0 and 5-0 starts, respectively, and College Gameday was on campus the highly anticipated, primetime game. Ohio State struggled for three quarters but came back to win 40-30, and one of the key factors in the victory were the three sacks that Bosa recorded under the lights. Shortly after that game, Buckeye faithful collectively thought, “Since when did that big white boy get so good?”
Good was an understatement. Joey turned out to be a superstar, a centripetal force the defense revolved around as he wrecked opposing lineman. His 2014 sophomore campaign was an absolute masterpiece, as he registered 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and a scoop and score touchdown in Ohio State’s mutilation of Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship. But more important that any stat Joey recorded was the manner in which he recorded them. For example: Joey didn’t just sack Penn St.’s Christian Hackenberg in double overtime to clinch the win for Ohio St., he literally picked up the Penn St. running back and threw him into Hackenberg’s backside, causing his knees to buckle as he toppled to the ground.
That’s an all time classic Ohio State moment, and it perfectly defined how Ohio State fans enjoyed Joey Bosa. We didn’t just love him as a player, we had a gluttonous lust to see him inflict pain on his victims. We felt a ravenous thrill when he drove Marcus Mariota into the ground and temporarily knocked the Heisman winner out of the championship game. We cheered for more after he pummeled TTUN quarterback Jake Rudock in 2015 (which is appropriately titled on Youtube as that time Joey Bosa killed Jake Rudock). We even applauded as his career ended on what we decried as a bogus targeting call. Don’t get me wrong, Buckeye nation wasn’t cheering for Bosa to injure our opponents, but we couldn’t help but embrace a player who violently displayed his defensive dominance. It energizes a fan base when your player is not only a force of nature, but a force that is feared by all others.
Personally, Joey was the first NFL-bound player that I grew up watching at Ohio State. Obviously, I don’t mean that he was the first Ohio St. player to be drafted. Ohio State has produced countless NFL draftees over the last century. What I mean is that I could tell just by watching him that Joey was a guy whose mission was to come here for three years, dominate the college landscape, then start making money in the pros as soon as possible.
I had watched plenty of great college level players dawn the Scarlet and Gray. Just take Braxton Miller, who was simply too electric to be contained by college defenders. But even then, I knew that Braxton could never really make it at the next level. He had talent, but he wasn’t the elite level football player that can succeed amongst other professionals. I watched Joey as a middle schooler and I had no doubt that NFL scouts would fawn over his swim moves, subtle footwork, and downright freakish strength.
Some truly hate this “professional or bust” mentality that has become so popular among amateur athletes. I’m not a huge fan of it either but none of that mindset has ruined the Joey Bosa experience I had as an Ohio State fan. And you know why? Because the joy I get from watching my team win far surpasses any personal agenda. Nothing gets me in a happier mood then watching the Ohio State Buckeyes leave carnage on the field as they rout their helpless opponent (translation: I love blowouts). Joey Bosa helped create those happy moments for me. He was a dominating force and a big reason why I got to watch my favorite team win so many games, and for that, he’s one of my ten favorite Ohio State Buckeyes.