Early Look: The Ohio State Defense

Zach Lentz

A total of 145 combined career starts returned on defense in 2019, which will be under the direction of new co-coordinators Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley. 

One of the nation’s top defensive linemen, Chase Young, looks to continue the Buckeyes’ tradition of production at that position. The team leader in both tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (10.5) last season, Young is looking to become just the second player in program history – Mike Vrabel was the first – to register double figure sacks in multiple seasons. Young figures to be on every major preseason watch list and has already been named a first team Preseason All-American by Sporting News.

The Nagurski Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist did not disappoint.

Entering the BIG 10 Championship, he ranked No. 1 in the nation in TFLs (2.0 per game/19.5), ranked No. 1 in the nation in quarterback sacks (16.5 and 1.65 per game), amassed 117 sack yards lost is No. 1 nationally; 122 total TFL yards lost is No. 2 and six forced fumbles is No. 2. 

The team captain also contributed 38 total tackles, 1 pass breakup, 4 quarterback hurries and a blocked kick. 

Young broke Ohio State’s single-season sack record, held previously by Vernon Gholston (14.0 in 2007), and has 16.5 on the season. Young is also second all-time at Ohio State with 30.5 sacks and 5.5 behind Mike Vrabel, who had 36.0.

However, the Buckeyes are more than just Young.

Linebacker Malik Harrison continues to lead the Ohio State defense in tackles with 63 and is followed by Jordan Fuller with 53. Ohio State’s defense has held 11 of 12 opponents under 300 yards of total offense, a program first. 

Against rival Michigan, Ohio State limited quarterback Shea Patterson to four of 24 passing for 55 yards in the second half.