It’s that time of the year ago when some of the top NFL Draft prospects are going to be faced with questions about what their future holds and, for some, whether or not they will play in a bowl game. Getting an early jump on that is Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa, who has decided to withdraw from school and focus on preparing himself for the NFL Draft next spring.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had been optimistic Bosa would make a return to the football team after going down with a core muscle injury earlier this season against TCU. Instead, Meyer was forced to confirm the news that not only will Bosa not return this season, but is gone for good as Bosa chooses to focus all of his energy on preparing for the NFL Draft. This decision has become the normal path for some top draft prospects who wish to stay out of a bowl game that could jeopardize their NFL Draft stock just months before the draft. What makes this decision slightly different is Ohio State is in prime position to make a run for a Big Ten championship and land a spot in the College Football Playoff as one of the biggest challengers to Alabama.
Urban Meyer on Nick Bosa's decision: "I was hopeful, like all of us were [that he would return]. But I can't say I was surprised."
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 16, 2018
Meyer on what type of blow losing Bosa is and his message to his players: "This just happened. I'm still debating on how to do it. We as a staff still are."
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) October 16, 2018
All indications at this point suggest this was a difficult decision for Bosa. Perhaps Bosa could have returned to be a part of a Big Ten title run with a shot at a national title, but at what risk to Bosa’s long-term health? That’s the biggest question. Considering many draft scouts rank Bosa among the top players in the 2019 NFL Draft pool, the decision to look out for the best interests of Bosa’s long-term future eventually won out, and it is easy to see why. For starters, just look at his brother, Joey Bosa.
Joey Bosa was the third-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, a position his younger brother Nick could be flirting with if healthy. That third pick in the draft comes with quite a contract, even if you have to wait a little longer to receive it like Joey Bosa did with the Chargers. Bosa held out until the end of August of his rookie year and then missed the first four weeks of the season due to a hamstring injury. This season, Joey Bosa has been bothered by more injury concerns as well, but at least he’s getting paid in a big way.
Seeing his older brother’s experience in the NFL gives Nick Bosa an idea of just how valuable his draft position in the NFL Draft can be. If he came back to play for Ohio State, there was little more to prove if healthy. He was already viewed as one of the top defensive linemen and top draft prospects on the board. He can prove he is healthy in other ways to scouts and coaches around the league with a good showing at a pro day event, the scouting combine, and private workouts. There’s plenty of film on him already too. Coming back to play whatever number of games for the Buckeyes would do nothing but expose him to needless harm on the field, especially with the possibility Ohio State could be playing as many as three extra games after the regular season with a possible appearance in the Big Ten championship game and up to two more postseason games with the College Football Playoff.
If healthy, odds are Bosa would have stayed with Ohio State through a possible playoff run. If the Buckeyes missed the playoff, perhaps the outlook would have followed the trend of top draft prospects sitting out of the bowl season. But Bosa was injured, putting his decision on fast forward and leading him to do what is likly best for him moving forward. It may sting for Ohio State fans, but there really was no better decision for Bosa to make at this time.