Tuesday September 9th, 2014

Think of all the ways a defensive lineman can blow up a play. Hurtling around the edge to sack a quarterback. Driving back an offensive tackle to collapse the pocket. Stuffing a running back before he reaches the line of scrimmage. Nick Bosa does all of those things, nearly all of the time.

Bosa, a defensive end from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is one of the most highly regarded defensive players in the high school junior class. According to rankings on the recruiting website Rivals.com, Bosa is the No. 2 strongside defensive end, the No. 46 player in country and the No. 8 player in the talent-rich state of Florida.

If his last name sounds familiar, it should. Many college football fans are already familiar with Bosa’s brother, Joey, a sophomore at Ohio State. As a true freshman last season, Joey Bosa racked up 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss and was a freshman All-America selection by multiple outlets after helping the Buckeyes post a 12-2 record. "Joey Bosa is as good a defensive end as anybody in America," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

How does Nick Bosa compare with his older brother? Some observers believe he has the potential to be better. At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, Bosa possesses an uncanny combination of size, speed and power that allows him to dominate offensive linemen and make life hell for opposing offensive coordinators. He bench presses 365 pounds and can throw down windmill and 360 dunks. (Unlike Joey, however, Nick cannot backflip.)

As a freshman Nick Bosa played defensive tackle on the same line in which Joey was a defensive end at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High, a South Florida powerhouse that has produced multiple NFL players and won two national and seven state championships. After racking up more than 50 tackles and six sacks and helping the Raiders win a state championship that season, Bosa was named the national freshman of the year by MaxPreps.

He has since moved to defensive end, but St. Thomas Aquinas coach Rocco Casullo said Bosa can play any position on the defensive line. For all of his athletic prowess, however, Bosa’s biggest strength might be his understanding of the game. Bosa, who has been playing football since he was seven, said he does not watch a lot of film, and that the game comes naturally to him.

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“Overall his football knowledge is very advanced for a kid his age,” Casullo said. Added Larry Blustein, a recruiting analyst who has been scouting players in Florida for more than 40 years, “His brother was very good, but his brother wasn’t like this.”

Bosa is in the early stages of his recruitment, but he says Ohio State, which offered him when he was a freshman, is his top school. He has visited Columbus several times -- including this past weekend for the Buckeyes’ game against Virginia Tech. His mother, Cheryl, attended Ohio State and his uncle, Eric Kumerow, a first-round NFL draft pick, played for the Buckeyes. And while Nick’s close relationship with Joey has affected his recruitment, Nick downplayed the role his brother has played in attracting him to Ohio State.

“It’s not that Ohio State is my favorite because Joey’s there,” Bosa said. “It’s because I think it’s the best right now.”

BECHT: Three thoughts on Virginia Tech's upset of Ohio State

Bosa said he still plans to visit several schools and doesn’t plan to make a decision any time soon, though he would like to settle his recruitment before his senior season. Bosa highlighted Florida State as a school he wants to “check out very thoroughly.” If he continues to develop, it’s not a stretch to think he could follow Joey in making a big impact at the college level right away.

“If you don’t double team him, you sign your death warrant,” Blustein says.

Around the nation

  • Nate Craig, the No. 1 player in the class of 2016, suffered a broken fibula on a running play during the first quarter of Tampa Catholic (Fla.) High’s season-opening loss to Madison County. Craig, who also missed time last year with an ankle injury, committed to Auburn in July. Tampa Catholic coach Mike Gregory did not rule out the possibility that Craig could return this season. Here is a video of the injury.
  • LSU running back Leonard Fournette made headlines Saturday when he struck the Heisman pose in celebration of his first college touchdown. On the same night, Fournette’s brother, Lanard, scored three second-half touchdowns to help St. Augustine (La.) High complete a 32-22 comeback win over McDonogh High. After the game, Lanard said his older brother’s touchdown motivated him. “After I got the message he scored his first touchdown, that was when I really started doing my thing,” Lanard Fournette said. The younger Fournette is a three-star all-purpose back in the class of 2015.

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  • Bosa was not the only heralded prospect on Ohio State’s campus over the weekend. Among the others who attended the Virginia Tech game were defensive end Josh Sweat, offensive lineman Matthew Burrell Jr., cornerback (and LSU commit) Kevin Toliver II and running back Damien Harris. None of those players drew as much attention, however, as one former high school football player from Akron, Ohio. In addition to his trip to the ‘Shoe, LeBron James attended a high school game the previous night.

  • Rashan Gary, the No. 2 defensive tackle and No. 8 player in the class of 2016, has been ruled eligible to play this season. Gary transferred from Scotch Plains-Fanwood (N.J.) High to Paramus Catholic (N.J.) High this summer. Scotch Plains had alleged that Paramus Catholic recruited Gary, which would have violated an NJSIAA rule. Scotch Plains coach Jon Stack charged that a man outfitted in Paramus Catholic gear spoke to Gary at a track meet last spring, and that boosters and star defensive back Jabrill Peppers, a Paramus Catholic alum who is now a freshman at Michigan, called Gary. On Thursday, after a hearing that included testimony from Stack and others, an appeals committee voted to grant Gary immediate eligibility. He had six tackles in the Paladins’ 35-0 win over Gilman (Md.) School on Saturday.
  • Notre Dame must have left a strong impression on the top prospects it had on campus Saturday for the Irish’s 31-0 pasting of Michigan. Soso Jamabo, the No. 5 running back in the class of 2015, took his official visit to South Bend, while several heralded junior prospects -- including receiver Austin Mack, tight end Jake Hausmann, offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer and quarterbacks Shea Patterson and Malik Henry -- also made the trip.

  • Rashad Roundtree seemed to suggest that he would be announcing his college decision Monday when he sent out this tweet a day earlier:

Roundtree clarified with a later message, saying he still doesn’t know “exactly where I want to go.” Roundtree, who has released a list of top six schools (Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Georgia, Michigan State and Ohio State), is the No. 2 receiver in the class of 2015.

Notable commitments

  • Memphis University (Tenn.) High offensive lineman Drew Richmond committed to Ole Miss. Richmond is the No. 5 offensive tackle in the class of 2015.
  • Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

    East Lake (Fla.) High receiver George Campbell (left) committed to Florida State. Campbell is the No. 10 receiver in the class of 2015.

  • Bellevue (Wash.) High offensive lineman Henry Roberts committed to Washington. Roberts is the No. 34 offensive tackle in the class of 2015.
  • Marietta (Ga.) High kicker Ian Shannon committed to Auburn.
  • South Dade (Fla.) High athlete Jotavious Barrett committed to Temple.
  • American (Fla.) High cornerback Jeremiah Dinson committed to Kentucky.
  • DeMatha Catholic (Md.) High running back Lorenzo Harrison committed to Maryland. Harrison is the No. 10 all-purpose back in the class of 2016.
  • Dwyer (Fla.) High receiver Tavares Martin committed to West Virginia. Martin is reportedly a “soft commitment.”
  • Hough (N.C.) High cornerback Marquill Osborne committed to Tennessee. Osborne is the No. 250 player in the class of 2016.
  • Westerville South (Ohio) High offensive lineman Rob Dowdy committed to Pittsburgh. Dowdy is the No. 49 offensive tackle in the class of 2015.
  • Coppell (Texas) High offensive lineman Connor Williams committed to Texas. Williams is the No. 61 offensive tackle in the class of 2015.
  • Saint Paul’s (La.) High receiver Jalen McCleskey committed to Oklahoma State. McCleskey is the No. 83 receiver in the class of 2015.
  • Madison Central (Miss.) High athlete Trey Smith, the son of former Jacksonville Jaguars star wideout Jimmy Smith, committed to Louisville.

Notable performances

  • Plano West (Texas) High running back Soso Jamabo rushed for 484 yards and six touchdowns in a 63-49 win over Sachse High.
  • Washington quarterback commit Jake Browning threw six touchdown passes and added another score on the ground in Folsom (Calif.) High’s 49-13 win over Clovis North High. Browning is now California’s all-time leader in career touchdown passes.
  • Prestonwood Christian (Texas) Academy receiver Michael Irvin Jr., the son of Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, hauled in at least 21 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns in a 69-36 loss to IMG Academy (Fla.), according to The Dallas Morning News. Statistics collected by MaxPreps indicate Irvin had 22 receptions, which would set a new state record.
  • Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.) High quarterback K.J. Costello passed for 411 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-27 win over Santiago High.
  • Texas A&M quarterback commit Kyler Murray passed for 381 yards and two touchdowns while adding 183 yards and five touchdowns on the ground to lead Allen (Texas) High to a 58-53 win over Dutch Fork (S.C.) High.

INSIDE READ: The rise of the Pac-12; Georgia's small-town hero; more

All rankings according to Rivals.com

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