Nothing changes the momentum of a football game greater than a huge hit.
In recent years college football has declared a war on big hits. With the implementation of the targeting penalty in 2013 big hits have been tabooed around college football. Now big hits that appear legal are scrutinized under a microscope.
However, this rule has not stopped some Buckeyes from laying the wood in recent years. Everyone remembers the classic Denzel Ward hit against Maryland (still don’t understand how that was targeting).
The following is a list of five Ohio State players who will most likely lay the wood (and possibly get ejected) in 2019.
5.) Shaun Wade
Defensive backs are typically known for their pass defense, but Shaun Wade is one of those rare exceptions. Last season Wade had one of the most disrespectful hits of the entire college football season against rival Michigan. This hit alone puts him on the list. Expect to see more big hits from Wade in 2019 with his starting role locked-up.
4.) Isaiah Pryor
Despite falling behind on the depth chart Isaiah Pryor remains one of the hardest hitting defensive backs on Ohio State’s roster. Last season Pryor demonstrated his ability as an enforcer recording 31 total tackles on the season. There is no doubt Pryor can hit with the best of them in the Big Ten. Just ask KJ Hamler what happened in the Penn State game.
Despite his hard hitting ability Pryor must improve his tackling angles in order to be more consistent on defense. He also needs to be more mindful of targeting as he was ejected for his hit on KJ Hamler last season.
3.) Malik Harrison
The senior linebacker skipped the 2019 NFL Draft for a chance to return to school. He has a chance to be one of the best linebackers in the nation this year. Last season there was not a specific hit that trademarked Malik Harrison’s 2018 campaign.
Despite the lack of a trademark hit Harrison has all the tools necessary to be a big hitter.
Harrison was second on the team with 55 solo tackles. Expect him to be near the ball almost every single play. One of those plays will result in a signature hit.
2.) Chase Young
Chase Young is a freight train coming off the edge. His nickname is “the Predator” for his ferocious play style similar to the antagonist in the Predator films. Last season Young led the team with 10.5 sacks, including three against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship. Now Young is another year better and expected to be a leader on the defensive line. The projected first round pick will certainly have some monstrous hits in 2019.
1.) Teradja Mitchell
Teradja Mitchell has not even made a tackle in his career yet, but is undoubtedly the biggest hitter on Ohio State’s roster. Mitchell is a thumper, a rare player that enjoys making thunderous hits. The sophomore linebacker is expected to be a starter in 2019. Mitchell was the No. 2 overall inside linebacker for the 2018 recruiting class and it is safe to say he will bury some poor souls on the turf of Ohio Stadium this upcoming season.
Still not convinced? Watch Mitchell blow up a blocker on the kickoff unit during the Penn State game.