Junior defensive end Chase Young enters his first full season as arguably Ohio State's best defensive player.
Young burst into sophomore season leading Ohio State with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, but now a player expected to be selected by five of the top draft picks will lead Ohio in more than statistical categories.
"I see more seriousness now," head coach Ryan Day said of Young's changed mentality. "I think he knows it's his time to step up and be a leader."
From the loss of Nick Boza and Dre'Mont Jones on the Bucky defensive line to the NFL draft in 2019, Young won the lion's share from national attention among Ohio State's defense before his third year.
Young was named second team All-Big Ten for his efforts last season, but he was named to both the preseason All-America First Team Sporting Team and the Bednarik Pre-Season Watch List – an honor given to the country's best defense player.
But not only Ohio State coaches and national media believe Young is due to things in production and responsibilities this year. He takes it upon himself.
"I'm just trying to lead the boys and be louder," Young said. "Lead by example, because people follow how you play."
Despite his individual accolades, Young's leadership has already expressed itself in its desire to speak about the talents of its teammates and believes that some will become nationally recognized.  "This year we have a lot of sleepers that many people have not heard of all over the country," Young said. “Tyreke Smith, he's going to be an evil guy coming from the edge. People don't know about him. Tommy Toggy is another person who will be great for us. Inside is where I really think we are really deep right now, especially in the nose area. "
Young was mentioned by many teammates as the team leader's voice and 'bedrooms' in the front.
" In advance, all these things, Chase tried to take the lead in this. He is our vocal man on the subject, " said senior security officer Jordan Fuller.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is the coach of four of the last five Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards and hopes Young will be the next.
Young said Johnson planned to give him more play than he did in 2018. After playing 82 snaps in Road Bowl against Washington, Young said he felt optimistic about how effective he could be with great role.
Although many believe that Young is a sophisticated player, he believes there is plenty of room for improvement. When asked what he could do better, Young considered more than a few aspects of his game.
"Oh, everything," Young said. "Running game, pass game, hands, hips, just the regular basics of being a great D-finish."
The defense has a lot to prove going into the 2019 season after finishing No. 72 in the NCAA in total protection over the past year. Given the killer changes in the defensive side of the ball, the reset button appears to have been pressed.
"We're definitely not stopping last season," Young says.
With more stability and fewer titles, Young said players are entering this season with a renewed positive attitude.
"I saw it [in fall camp] with DBs, linear links, D-lines. We were all fired up, "Young said. "I feel like DBs, their confidence is through the roof right now. We had a coaching change. So, we put last year in the past, in our head, we just look forward and try to get to where we want to be. "
The State of Ohio has never won a Bednarik Award, but this may be the year Young brings one to Columbus.