COLUMBUS, Ohio — Chase Young is the only defensive end Ohio State signed in the class of 2017, but he is quite an addition.
Young was ranked as the No. 2 defensive end and No. 8 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings for the class of 2017. He’s added 35 pounds since his senior season without losing any speed.
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic coach Elijah Brooks spoke to Land of 10 about what Buckeyes fans can expect from the dominant defensive end.
Q: What traits stand out when he’s on the football field?
Brooks: “Chase is the alpha male in our program. Obviously being 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds with freakish athletic ability is always a good thing. No one understands how competitive and how mentally strong he is and his innate motivation to be the best. I think that’s what separates him from the rest.”
Q: How did you find out just how competitive he is?
Brooks: “On the high school level, a lot of times you have to find ways to motivate guys. All we had to do was tell him that his upcoming opponent was better than him, whether it was an offensive lineman he’d be going up against or a defensive end who played the same position. He hated that. He wants to be the best. Guys like that are wired differently. As a coach, you love them for it.”
Q: When did you realize he’d be a high-level Division I recruit?
Brooks: “We’ve had a lot of outstanding players over the years. When he joined the program, we saw he had length and a good frame, but we weren’t enamored by his film from his previous school. He made plays, but it was hard to tell how good he was based on the competition he was going up against. We didn’t realize it until his first game, which was on national TV. That’s when we realized when the lights came on, he was a different animal. He had three sacks against Miami Central and went from a two- or three-offer kid to having 20 to 25 offers.”
Q: Is there a play or performance that showed just how good he is?
Brooks: “He had a play when he sacked the quarterback and there were several bodies around the football after he forced the fumble. He just stuck his hand down and picked the ball up out of the crowd and started running. And in our championship game this year, we moved him back to stand-up at linebacker just so he could spy on the mobile quarterback on the other side of the field. I think that really showed his versatility. There was also a time when he was running at a quarterback who threw a screen, and he just snagged it out of the air and ran it back for a touchdown. Again, those are all glimpses of elite-level play, and he’ll only get better from here on out.”
Q: Urban Meyer loves players who come from elite high schools. What about DeMatha prepares guys so well for college?
Brooks: “I think the biggest thing within the program — and this is how it will be at Ohio State — is that Chase isn’t the only fish in the pond. In any given season, we might have four or five high school All-Americans spread out across the four classes. Every single day he’s coming out and having to battle for his position. We had three or four other guys who might not be as good but can still do the job if he falls off. I think the competition on a daily basis helps the program. Guys can’t get content. They have to do things the right way all the time.
“We also play good enough competition that if you don’t continue to get better you’re going to get exposed. I definitely think from a development standpoint we have a good idea of what we’re doing. And then we have kids like him who love to compete and love to be the best.”
Q: How have you seen him improve or change over the last two years?
Brooks: “When he first got here, we’d have to get on him sometimes to practice harder. By the time he was a senior he’d be jumping in on scout team against the No. 1 offense because he wanted to make our team better and wanted to make himself better. It was a true growth that we were happy about.”
Q: What was it like to watch his development the last two years?
Brooks: “As a coach, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Just to see his growth … it’s scary to think about what he can do at the next level. Guys like him come around once in a blue moon, and we’ve had some dudes. He’s just a different animal.”
Q: Is there anything else Ohio State fans should know about him?
Brooks: “What Ohio State is going to love most about him is how much he competes. He’s accustomed to winning and he wants to be the best. His energy is contagious. He’s a good, all-around kid. We wish him the best, and we’re confident he’ll have a great career there.”