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Nick Bosa will focus on NFL future, won’t return to Ohio State

Nick Bosa’s college football career is over.

Ohio State announced that Bosa, the star defensive end who has been sidelined since suffering an injury against TCU, “intends to withdraw from school in order to devote more time to his rehabilitation and training efforts.”

“I was hopeful that Nick would be able to return to play again for us,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “I know this was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for Nick and his family, and I wish him well as he moves on to get himself 100 percent healthy and ready for his next chapter. I want to thank Nick for the remarkable efforts he gave for this program. He is a first-class young man who we have been honored to coach.”

Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa will reportedly turn his focus to his NFL future. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Once healthy, Nick Bosa will begin NFL preparation

According to Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch, Bosa will turn his attention toward preparing for the NFL draft.

Bosa went down with what the Ohio State program called a “core muscle injury” on Sept. 15. He had surgery on Sept. 20 in Philadelphia and hasn’t returned to the field since.

Bosa’s father John told Sports Illustrated in an interview published Tuesday afternoon that Bosa was having groin issues before the TCU game.

“He clearly played through some pain for the first couple games,” John Bosa told SI. “He had some slight tears happening in there. He definitely had some discomfort in the left side of his groin. We thought it was something he could play with and manage.”

OSU coach Urban Meyer said Sept. 24 that it would be “a few more weeks” before Bosa could return to the field. But later that day, Bosa’s father put a longer timetable on a potential return for his son. John Bosa told The Athletic that Nick had a “major” surgery and wouldn’t be re-evaluated “until November.”

Bosa, a junior, is considered one of the best players — and draft prospects — in the country. Some think Bosa could go as high as first overall in the 2019 draft. Nick’s brother, Joey, was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2016 draft. Joey also played defensive end for the Buckeyes.

Some won’t like it, but Bosa’s decision makes sense

In the end, the Bosa family decided it was in Nick’s best interests not to rush back to the field and risk further injury while playing without getting paid when a promising, lucrative professional future is around the corner.

From the Dispatch:

The sources said that Bosa met with OSU coach Urban Meyer and some of his staff on Sunday to let them know of the decision he, his father John Bosa and the family had reached about his future.

Bosa was always expected to leave after his junior season. And in the early part of the season, his improvements were noticeable to NFL scouts, according to our Pete Thamel:

The scouts have noticed the difference in Nick Bosa, as he’s shown he’s twitchier than last season. And while scouts are hesitant to hail Nick as better than Joey – he’s an elite NFL player, after all – they have noticed a difference in how he’s prepared. “Nick is looser in the hips and agile as a pass rusher, but Joey is much stronger,” said a veteran NFL scout. “Nick looks much improved compared to last year, as you can see he’s in better shape.”

Bosa isn’t the first college player to follow this path

There have been many publicized instances (Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, etc.) where acclaimed college players decide to sit out their team’s bowl game in order to begin preparing for the NFL combine.

But what about leaving mid-season?

It has happened before. Back in 2015, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack suffered a serious knee injury during practice in the early part of his junior season. A few weeks later, he decided to leave school to continue his injury rehab and prepare to become a professional.

The move has paid off. Jack was selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been a starter on their defense all three years of his pro career so far. Upon his arrival in Jacksonville, he signed a four-year, $6.3 million contract and is line for a far bigger payday for his second contract.

How does this affect Ohio State?

In parts of three games this season, Bosa tallied 14 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. He even returned a fumble for a touchdown against Oregon State. In his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, Bosa combined for 63 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

Clearly, Bosa, an All-American and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year award winner in 2017, had a huge impact on the field for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State, now 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country, are in the midst of a College Football Playoff race could have obviously benefited from Bosa’s return. The OSU defense has not played to the standards the program has set on that side of the ball in recent years, allowing way more big plays than we’re accustomed to seeing.

Having a disruptive player like Bosa, who was constantly in the backfield wreaking havoc as a pass rusher and a run stopper, can cover up a lot of loose ends for the rest of the unit.

The Buckeyes travel to Purdue on Saturday night to face a pesky Boilermakers offense. Also on the schedule in November are two Big Ten East rivals: No. 24 Michigan State and No. 6 Michigan. If both OSU and Michigan continue winning, The Game will have massive implications on the College Football Playoff picture.

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