Ohio State football: Nick Bosa will focus on NFL instead of return to Buckeyes

Tim May

Life rolled on for Ohio State on Tuesday, even though star defensive end Nick Bosa — recovering from surgery last month to repair a core muscle injury — has opted to withdraw from school and turn his attention toward rehabilitation and preparation for the 2019 NFL draft.

Actually, the second-ranked Buckeyes, preparing for Saturday night’s game at Purdue, have persevered for four games without Bosa, who went down in the third quarter of the third game, a 40-28 victory over TCU. But that’s not discounting what the preseason All-American brought to the table, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said after practice Tuesday.

“He’s a great player. I think it’s tough for everybody, including Nick,” Schiano said of the decision. “But that’s kind of life in sports. You have to go, move on, and play with who you have.”

>> Video: Ohio State's Schiano, Haskins, Fuller react to Nick Bosa decision to leave

The decision was not easy, Bosa’s father, John, told The Dispatch. He cited the love Nick and his family have for the university, his teammates and for the coaching and support staff, especially defensive line coach Larry Johnson. But with his son facing at least a 10-week window post-surgery — barring complications — before he could begin to get into football shape, John Bosa said the prudent move was to move on.

“For Nick it was very difficult to come to the realization that it was over” at Ohio State, John Bosa said. “Once we all huddled up as a family, and got input from older brother Joey and input from mom (Cheryl), and then the doctors, we decided it was in his best interest … to shut it down.”

Nick Bosa had surgery on Sept. 20 in Philadelphia, and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said at the time that the Buckeyes hoped Bosa could return this season. But within a week of the surgery, John Bosa said that it would be November before Nick would even be evaluated, putting his return in question until at least a bowl game or the College Football Playoff.

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Sources told The Dispatch that John Bosa told the OSU staff on Sunday of Nick’s decision. The university issued a statement confirming it on Tuesday after The Dispatch broke the story.

John Bosa said he and Nick were on their way to Philadelphia on Tuesday to get a recovery assessment from the surgeon who made the repair, Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute. Later this week, Nick Bosa plans to move to southern California to stay with Joey, who plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, and work on his rehab with the goal of being ready for the scouting combine workouts in February. The 2019 NFL draft is April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

A major factor in Nick Bosa’s decision is that some draft analysts have projected him to be the No. 1 pick, with the consensus that he will be among the top three selections. To put that in perspective from a financial standpoint, the top three picks from the 2018 draft signed contracts worth $30 million or more.

“When you look at his status as a player, and where his performance has put him, then try and peel away the emotion, it’s clear that for his future this is the right thing to do,” John Bosa said.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer indicated that he understood those thoughts.

“I was hopeful, as all of us were (that he would return), but I wasn’t surprised” by the decision, Meyer said Tuesday.

In a statement earlier Tuesday, Meyer said, “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.”

As for filling the void, Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper have played well as Ohio State’s starting defensive ends, and former tackle Jashon Cornell has seen increased time in recent weeks, including a start last week when Cooper was in concussion protocol.

Meyer said freshmen Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday have shown continued improvement and likely will figure more into the rotation as the season progresses.


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