Joey Bosa is so good, he made the president shrug.
Bosa, who ranked among the country's leaders with 13.5 sacks last season, was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year a season ago, when he was the best player on the defensive side of the ball for the national-champion Ohio State Buckeyes.
Bosa was the conference's top pass-rusher, getting to celebrate sacks an awful lot, and he came up with a custom celebration. This: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Yes, Bosa shrugged his way to stardom with a celebration based on the popular Internet expression. His shrug-a-bration become so renowned that when President Obama welcomed the Buckeyes to the White House, even the leader of the free world got his shrug on.
New header is pretty decent pic.twitter.com/gbU50SXS6R
— Joey Bosa (@jbbigbear) April 20, 2015
Bosa enters the 2015 season as one of the most-hyped defensive players in the country, and the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year deserves to be favored to repeat.
But Bosa is hardly alone on an Ohio State defense that doesn't get nearly as much attention as its offensive teammates across the ball. While J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller — not to mention arguably the best O-line in football — are under a microscope, the Buckeyes' defense deserves its share of credit, too, for not just taking Ohio State to a national title a year ago but setting it up for a repeat performance this season.
In 2014, Ohio State ranked 19th in the country and fifth in the Big Ten in total defense, allowing an average of 342.4 yards to opposing offenses each week. Like the Buckeyes in general, the level of play stepped up once the team reached the postseason. The Buckeyes defense shone in the Big Ten title game, limiting Wisconsin and its potent running game in a 59-0 win, keeping Melvin Gordon out of the end zone. While Alabama scored 35 points in the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State kept the Tide's run game to just 170 yards. Oregon rushed for even fewer (132) in the national title game, and the Buckeyes held the prolific Ducks offense to just 20 points, just two touchdowns, as Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota couldn't engineer much.
Heading into 2015, the Buckeyes will have the benefit of championship experience to go along with all that talent. And that talent is everywhere.
Lining up with Bosa on the defensive line is senior Adolphus Washington, who has 18 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 37 career games (19 starts).
The linebacking corps is particularly stacked. Darron Lee is just a sophomore but was the Defensive MVP of the Sugar Bowl as a redshirt freshman, making seven tackles in that game, including three tackles for loss and two sacks. Joshua Perry led the Buckeyes in tackles last season with 124. The senior had made 24 starts over the past two seasons. And Raekwon McMillan didn't start as a true freshman last season — he did play in all 15 games — but he was one of the Buckeyes' top recruits last year, ranked as the top inside linebacker in the Class of 2014.
In the secondary, the safeties are strong with juniors Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell. Powell — perhaps better known for his Twitter back and forths with best friend Cardale Jones — started every game last season and was named the Defensive MVP of the national championship game. Bell has grabbed seven interceptions in his first two seasons, including one in the Big Ten Championship Game and a huge one on the goal line in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Powell and Bell rank second and third in tackles over the past two seasons, trailing Perry.
So the lineup is stacked, not a surprise considering that's the case at just about every position for this year's Ohio State squad.
While the offense and its stars command most of the attention — and Bosa commands all the attention on the defensive side — the entire Buckeye defense is a strong unit that will be at least half the reason Ohio State makes another run at a national title in 2015.