Heisman Winner Eddie George Likes Chase Young's Chances
The most powerful argument for Ohio State's Chase Young becoming the first defense-only player to win the Heisman Trophy is that a former OSU running back who won the award thinks Young is the Buckeyes' most-deserving contender over another OSU running back.
George, who won the sixth of seven Heismans Ohio State players have claimed over the years, believes Young is the most-deserving candidate of the third-ranked Buckeyes three candidates coming off a 38-7 victory over Wisconsin.
"I would push Chase Young right now and J.K. Dobbins next," George told Tim May on his Lettermen Row podcast. "Those two are my 1A and 1B guys."
Young had four quarterback sacks, including two forced fumbles, in Ohio State's eighth win of the season.
Dobbins rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He has 1,110 yards, 9 TDs and is averaging 7.3 yards per-carry this season. Dobbins, who became the first back in OSU history to gain 1,000 yard each of his first three seasons, also has two receiving touchdowns.
Ohio State is off this weekend prior to closing with games Nov. 9 vs. Maryland, Nov. 16 at Rutgers, Nov. 23 vs. Penn State and Nov. 30 at Michigan.
Quarterback Justin Fields is the Buckeyes' third viable Heisman contender. He has thrown for 24 touchdowns and 1,659 yards, completing 69% of his passes against just one interception, while also rushing for 9 TDs.
OSU head coach Ryan Day would prefer to keep all talk of the Heisman on the back burner as his team bears down on an undefeated season and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
"We do not talk about it at all," Day said. "It’s something that when you come to Ohio State, play at highest level, and you get to a point where we are, undefeated at this point of season, things like that are going to happen.
"It was not a distraction early on when people didn't think much of us and it's not going to be a distraction moving forward when people are starting to talk about our guys like that. It just isn't.
"Our focus is on the team. I think they would tell you that they are not interested in individual accolades. They're just interested in championships If we continue to win, all those awards will come naturally. If you go looking for them, they’re not going to come. That's the biggest thing. You don’t go looking for them. They come with team success."
A strong case can be made for each of OSU's Big Three.
Dobbins and Fields have been the catalysts to a Buckeyes' offense that ranks third nationally in scoring at 48 points per-game.
Young is the headliner on an OSU defense that's first in fewest points allowed per-game at 7.9 points per-game and third in quarterback sacks with 34.
He has 13.5 of those and is in range of setting new school records both single-season and career sacks.
"He’s changing the way offenses are approaching Ohio State," George said. "Wisconsin dared him to rush the passer by singling him up without any help, and guess what? He was disruptive. So guess what other teams are going to do? They’re going to slide (extra blockers) to him.
"They’re going to bring an offense not centered around allowing Chase Young to be disruptive and take their chances with the other guys making plays. I haven’t seen a defensive player dominate like this since Jadeveon Clowney did his sophomore year at South Carolina.
"If you’re playing Ohio State you say, ‘How do we defend this guy? How do we defend this predator.”
Clowney had 13 sacks as a sophomore in 2012, when he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Michigan's Charles Woodson is the only defensive player to win the award, but Woodson augmented his credentials with three touchdowns from scrimmage on offense and another against Ohio State via a punt return.
George thinks Young could make a powerful closing argument given the way OSU's regular-season schedule finishes.
"With Penn State and Michigan coming up, two high-profile games coming up, he’s getting the attention from different voters around the country," George said. "He could possibly win the Heisman, because he is the most dominant force in college football.
"If you were to look at it and fast-forward to the NFL Draft, he might be the No. 1 pick in the country. So...if he earns that much respect as the No. 1 pick overall, then I think he deserves to be No. 1 in terms of Heisman votes, because he’s the most outstanding player in the country in my opinion."
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