Earlier this week, Joey Bosa acknowledged the inevitable. His Ohio State football career will end after three years.
Bosa did not actually say he will declare for the NFL draft after this season. But his future plans were obvious.
The 6-6, 275-pound junior defensive end has probably been on the three-year plan since he arrived at OSU looking like a veteran college player, not a high school kid.
“It’s hard to think three years is almost over. It seems like yesterday I was coming here for the first time. It’s definitely going to be emotional for me,” Bosa said about the final home game of the season against Michigan State on Saturday.
Change is always inevitable in college football. But, looking ahead to 2016, Ohio State could be in for some significant changes. Many of the other players besides Bosa who have played big roles in OSU’s current 23-game winning streak could be leaving, too.
Eight senior starters (offensive linemen Taylor Decker, Jacoby Boren and Chase Farris, receiver Braxton Miller, tight end Nick Vannett, defensive linemen Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt and linebacker Joshua Perry) will be gone.
Three juniors who have first-round NFL talent – running back Ezekiel Elliott, receiver Michael Thomas and Bosa – almost certainly will declare for the draft.
Quarterback Cardale Jones, with no desire to sit behind J.T. Barrett again, will be gone.
Safety Vonn Bell, a junior, also appears to have NFL talent and could leave. Players like linebacker Darron Lee, cornerback Eli Apple, offensive lineman Pat Elflein and safety Tyvis Powell are eligible to declare for the draft if they choose.
Ohio State is a program built for the long run. But it might be wise to appreciate the talent of this year’s team while they are still here.