Win or lose, every week there are a handful of Ohio State players who stood out above the rest.
Following the tradition of the helmet stickers that dates back to the days of Woody Hayes, Lettermen Row shares out our version of the award every Sunday morning for the best performers on offense, defense and special teams for the Buckeyes.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The potential for Chase Young is no secret at Ohio State. Now the whole world knows it, too.
The former 5-star recruit with the freakish athleticism has always appeared to have the ability to become the next great pass-rushing terror for the Buckeyes. And while he’s not a finished product yet as a sophomore, Young certainly looked like he was built for the big stage at Beaver Stadium in primetime in front of a record-setting crowd against Penn State.
Just imagine what Young might do with another year to develop considering what he gave No. 4 Ohio State in the 27-26 thriller that kept the title hopes for the program alive.
“Boy did he [step up],” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “He was outstanding.
“Great performance all the way around.”
Young’s breakout performance was even more valuable since Nick Bosa continues to be out following core-muscle surgery that will sideline the superstar until at least November. Ohio State’s other first-round talent was also dealing with an ankle injury with Dre’Mont Jones going down late in the comeback.
But Young more than made up for any absences. And the best is surely yet to come.
WR K.J. Hill
As usual, quarterback Dwayne Haskins proved he is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, but he’s already been removed from weekly consideration here thanks to his ridiculous run to open his career as the starting quarterback. So, the nod this time goes to wide receiver K.J. Hill, who might be the most underrated performer on the roster. Time after time, Hill has a knack for delivering for the Buckeyes when they need him most. And the game-winning touchdown capped off another dynamic effort from the redshirt junior, giving him six catches for 59 yards while also offering some reliability on special teams fielding punts.
DE Chase Young
The enormous upside thanks to his physical tools has always been clear, but now Chase Young appears to be putting that all together with the right mentality and technique to become an absolute monster up front. Quite simply, the Buckeyes might have been lost without him making life tougher for Penn State and quarterback Trace McSorley, with Young’s three tackles for loss and two sacks helping to give the defense just enough stops to allow the offense to climb back into the game. Ohio State needs Nick Bosa back to make a run through the College Football Playoff, but putting him on the other side of Young could be terrifying for opposing quarterbacks.
P Drue Chrisman
With the Ohio State offense struggling to generate much early momentum and the defense trying to find answers for McSorley, Drue Chrisman stepped up as the first-half MVP with his powerful leg. The redshirt sophomore punter was fantastic for the Buckeyes, averaging nearly 48 yards on his nine attempts with a long of 58 — dropping three of those blasts inside the 20-yard line. The battle for field position is always critical, and Chrisman helped Ohio State stay afloat when it was floundering a bit.