It is time for these Ohio State football players to make an impact

The Ohio State football team may appear loaded heading into the 2024 season, but these Buckeyes are still needed to make an impact.

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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Caden Curry/Kenyatta Jackson

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I lump these two together because they were the second pairing of defensive ends last season. I want to make it clear that I’m not listing them because I feel they’ve performed poorly. I think they’ve done a good job and shown steady improvement. But with both entering their third season in the program, I’m hoping to see a big leap in production from them.

In 2023, they combined for three sacks and five-and-a-half tackles for loss while playing an almost identical number of snaps. By increasing their production, it will mean more playing time for them. So, if the Buckeyes have Jack Sawyer (6 ½ sacks, 3 quarterback hurries) and J.T. Tuimoloau (7 sacks, 6 quarterback hurries), why do I want to see Curry and Jackson on the field more often?

Because it will keep Sawyer and Tuimoloau fresh and allow them to be even more effective. Curry played 166 snaps last season (according to Eleven Warriors), Jackson was on the field for 176. My hope is these two can get their snap counts to up around 300 for the season. That will significantly reduce the wear and tear on Sawyer and Tuimoloau. The impact of this could be huge if the Buckeyes make the Big Ten championship game and college football playoff as expected.

Here is something to keep in the back of your mind. Bowl practice is very important to young players because a good bit of it is spent working on fundamentals and skill development. It’s not unusual for one of those younger guys to look like a different player in the bowl game. Yet, the Ohio State football team didn't use their full allotment of practices. In the Cotton Bowl, Jackson played twice as many snaps as Curry. Did Jackson take a leap in ability during bowl practice? It’s quite possible. Keep an eye on him.