Nick Bosa has the same last name as his older brother, Joey, and he proudly wears the same No. 97 that Joey wore for three seasons at Ohio State before becoming the third overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft.
Then, earlier this year, Nick noticed something else he thinks the two defensive ends have in common.
“This spring my pass rush was going crazy, so I just kept sending him clips — I thought I was starting to look like him,” the sophomore said. “He was pretty impressed. It was funny.
“Now he’s sending me stuff from his camp (in his second year with the Los Angeles Chargers). He’s dominating, too, so it’s kind of cool.”
This time a year ago, Nick was on the comeback from a knee injury he had suffered early in his senior season at Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The five-star prospect still managed to play from game one, and made an impact. He finished his freshman season 10th on the team with 29 tackles, and his five sacks were second only to Tyquan Lewis’ eight.
But headed into this season’s opener at Indiana on Thursday night, there is a sense that the second Buckeye Bosa is on the cusp of a major leap. Certainly, the expectations are there from fans and media.
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“I’m excited to just go play,” Nick said. “Either way I’m going to play, and I believe I’m going to play well, after all this practice I’ve gotten through the spring and now. So I’m not worried.”
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson always has been careful not to put demands on the younger Bosa to be a clone of his brother, who is three years older.
“I say Nick and Joey Bosa — that’s what I say,” Johnson said, smiling. “They’re very talented players. They come from a great gene (pool), a great family.”
Their father, John Bosa, was a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1987 before injuries cut short his career. Their mother, Cheryl, is the sister of former OSU defensive end Eric Kumerow, a first-round pick of the Dolphins in 1988.
“The thing they both have is the ability to work hard. … They play real hard, and they have a burning desire to be the best,” Johnson said. “When you have the desire to be great, to be an elite athlete and are not afraid to get out of your mix to go do it, that’s what I see in both of those guys.”
As for the great expectations, a prime example came on the team’s student appreciation day practice back in the spring. Nick drew one of the larger crowds of autograph/selfie-seeking students. One student in the throng was asked about the attraction, and she said “It’s just the name. The Bosa name.”
Nick smiled last week when reminded of the scene. He knows that there is a lot in the name.
“It’s pretty cool; I’m starting to realize it and see it,” he said. “But I still have a lot of work to do to keep the reputation going. I mean, once I do my part, then I’ll really enjoy it.”