The Ohio State Buckeyes are entering the post-J.T. Barrett era after the starting quarterback spent four years tearing down almost every school and Big Ten record in the book. Outside the quarterback position, however, there will be many familiar faces on the field when the Scarlet and Gray open their season on Sept. 9 against Oregon State.
Despite the season not even beginning for another two and a half months, about a week ago the sportsbook Bovada released their odds for players across to country to take home this year’s coveted Heisman Trophy. The list included three Buckeyes, two of which are returning starters with the third being the school’s newest starting quarterback.
J.K. Dobbins – 15/1
The best odds of any Ohio State player belong to sophomore running back J. K. Dobbins. Dobbins burst onto the scene from the very start of last season as a true freshman, filling in for an injured Mike Weber.
In his very first game as a Buckeye, taking place on the road against Indiana, Dobbins exploded for 181 yards on 29 carries, good for a 6.2 yard-per-carry average. Dobbins never took his foot of the gas for the remainder of the season, even as he was splitting time once Weber returned from his injury. He would finish his freshman year with 1,403 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Dobbins shattered the previous OSU freshman rushing record, held by Maurice Clarrett in 2002 when he ran for 1,237 yards. While Dobbins should be the Buckeyes’ feature back this season, he will continue to split time with Weber. However, should Dobbins see the bulk of the carries for Ohio State, his chances of winning the Heisman seem very solid.
Dwayne Haskins – 22/1
The fresh face in the group, Ohio State’s new starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins has the second best odds of the Buckeyes on the list. The 6-foot-3, 218 pound redshirt sophomore has drawn many a comparison to former OSU QB Cardale Jones, both as a result of his large stature and incredibly strong arm.
Haskins has not seen all too much playing time, at least when it has mattered. He did, however, play a huge role in Ohio State’s 31-20 victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor, when he replaced an injured Barrett in the third quarter. He completed six of his seven passes that day for 94 yards, adding another 24 yards on the ground and helping to lead the team to their big rivalry win.
In total in 2017, Haskins threw for 565 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Outside of the Michigan game, most of his reps have come in garbage time, so it is hard to tell how he will perform as a starter. However, Ohio State is returning a ton of talent at receiver, and with his two stud running backs to help him out, Haskins could be in for a big year.
Nick Bosa – 66/1
The biggest long shot in the group is defensive end Nick Bosa. The Heisman Trophy is almost exclusively a quarterback/running back award. In fact, the last defensive player to win the Heisman was Charles Woodson in 1997. However, Bosa’s name even making the list is a testament to just how good he really can be.
The younger brother of now San Diego Charger Joey Bosa, Nick split time last season as a result of an absolutely stacked Ohio State defensive line. Even in limited playing time, mainly on 3rd and 4th down, Bosa finished his sophomore year with 8.5 sacks and a whopping 16 tackles for a loss.
With many other Buckeye lineman leaving for the NFL, Bosa will now be getting the majority of the reps at defensive end. At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, some scouts have predicted that Nick will be even better than his brother Joey – the man that won NFL DPOY in 2016 and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2017.
While those are tough expectations to live up to, and while it would be nearly impossible for a defensive end to win the Heisman, Nick Bosa should be in for a tremendous season.
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