The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
— Coach Mow (@todd_mowery) May 29, 2018
Every coach in America in every spot values leadership, but there might not be anybody who puts a greater emphasis on cultivating, developing and leaning on his captains quite like Urban Meyer. And from the second that guys like J.T. Barrett, Billy Price and Tyquan Lewis walked out the door after the Cotton Bowl, there’s no question that establishing the next wave of elite tone-setters has been on top of the priority list for the Ohio State coach.
For starters, it helps the Buckeyes heading into the offseason that there are so many veterans who have been respected voices on and off the field and tireless workers on the practice field and the weight room returning. Wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin should have no trouble with more responsibility on their plates this season, but they certainly can’t do it alone.
So, who is next in line?
Based on the way he attacked winter workouts and spring camp after electing to put off the NFL draft for another season, Dre’Mont Jones has emerged as one of the top contenders for a prized captaincy. With all that he’s done already in his career, it would have been easy for him to coast through the first couple months of the year, but the way the defensive lineman pushed himself is a perfect example of the culture Ohio State wants. At the back of the defense, safety Jordan Fuller appears to be poised for the same kind of leap into a primary role representing the program and speaking up when needed.
That’s a solid foundation for the Buckeyes, but the real intrigue will be how the team’s most talented player and a new starting quarterback take to their roles as leaders.
Defensive end Nick Bosa is already being talked about as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick next season, and like it or not, somebody with his talent will always be looked to by teammates to set the pace. Bosa has embraced the opportunity to step out of his comfort zone a bit by speaking up more often, and there’s no reason to doubt anybody in his family when their minds are set on accomplishing something.
And then there’s Dwayne Haskins, who is now clearly the guy at the most important position on the field. With Joe Burrow’s transfer official, Haskins will not only be taking the keys to the Ohio State offense from Barrett, but it’s his turn to be the face of the program publicly and take the leadership torch behind closed doors. Ohio State has raved about his ability to handle all those responsibilities that come along with the position since before he even stepped on campus, but now it’s time to really find out what Haskins is all about.
Like always, Meyer will have him and the rest of the potential captains under a microscope as he looks at Ohio State’s leadership. But heading into the summer, the Buckeyes appear to be in good hands once again.