Each Team’s Best Defender On Ohio State’s Schedule

Ohio State never seems to have an issue with Maryland, and this season shouldn't be any different. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Ohio State never seems to have an issue with Maryland, and this season shouldn't be any different. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
1 of 2

Not long ago I previewed the best eight players the Ohio State defense will have to stop in 2020, but there’s also a good amount of players the offense will have to key on this year.  Below are the best players on defense for each game on our schedule.

Oct. 24th vs. Nebraska

Dicaprio Bootle, CB

If it weren’t for Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool (yes, that’s a real name), this guy would be the best name in college football. Just really rolls off the tongue. If we’re in the trust tree though, the only reason his name’s on this list is that he’s the “best” there is to offer on a Cornhuskers’ defense that will have more holes than the amount holes Stanley Yelnats and Zero dug up in Green Lake, Texas.

He’s probably not going to hear his name called on Draft Day. Poor Nebraska has to start their long-awaited season against the Buckeyes. That’s like starting a round of golf on the #1 handicapped hole. It’ll be interesting to see if Nebraska throws their clubs and goes straight to the clubhouse for drinks after this one, which is something I may or may not have done several times before.

Oct. 31st @ Penn State
Jayson Oweh, DE

A familiar name for the Buckeye fans that love recruiting battles. Back in 2018, the Buckeyes were in a race to land three defensive end prospects. Micah Parsons, Jayson Oweh, & Tyreke Smith, in that order, were at the top of Ohio State’s list of needs at the position. At one point, it was thought that all three were going to commit to Urban Meyer and OSU.

At the end of their recruitments, Parsons & Oweh both elected to go to Happy Valley and join Penn State, while Smith, although a clear 3rd option behind the aforementioned duo, chose Ohio State. A rare recruiting L for the Buckeyes.

Although, I will never understand why players choose to go to Big Ten schools not named Ohio State if they have an offer and a chance to play early, both of which Parsons & Oweh had.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyways, fast forward to this season and Parsons opted out of the season to prepare for the NFL Draft, for which he’s projected as a Top-5 Pick as a linebacker. With him out of the picture, Oweh is one of the biggest difference-makers for Penn State’s defense, and he may also be the fastest defensive end in the country. It’ll be tough to block Oweh with just one guy, so Master Teague and Trey Sermon’s pass-blocking abilities will be put to the test very early this year.

Yetur Gross-Matos was a second-round pick at defensive end for Penn State last year, going to the Panthers at pick 38. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oweh can cut that number in half and go in the top 20 picks come next April. Yes, he’s going to be a freak. And with DE Shaka Toney on the other side of the D-Line, teams won’t be able to just key on Oweh so he will get his fair share of QB pressures this year.

Nov. 7th vs. Rutgers

Brendon White, FS, formerly @ OSU

The former Buckeye safety followed former Buckeye coach Greg Schiano to Rutgers and will be the leader of that defense this year. White put his name on the map during the 2018 season, but last year saw his playing time dwindle under the new defensive regime belonging to Ryan Day.

Rutgers lost linebacker Keandre Jones from a season ago, and they’ll have a lot of production to make up for because of it. White is probably one of the best tacklers in all the secondaries in the Big Ten, and when you couple that with his ability to defend the pass, the Knights’ will have an early fan favorite once the season gets going.

Nov. 14th @ Maryland

Antwaine Richardson, SS

This is another Nebraska situation on our hands. Maryland’s defense is going to swiss cheese, although they still may be better than the Dallas Cowboys’ defense.

Richardson missed all of last season with a torn ACL he suffered in the spring, and having him back gives the Terps a leader on defense who knows what every position should be doing on every play.

He’s a long, athletic defensive back who will absolutely force a couple of turnovers this season, provided he stays healthy. The Terps won’t have much to hang their hat on this year, but having this guy on defense will give them a tiny sliver of hope and excitement.