CFP Championship Players To Watch: Ohio State

2015 National Championship - Ohio State players to watch

- Keys To The Game: Ohio State
- Keys To The Game: Oregon
- Ohio State Players To Watch
- Oregon Players To Watch
- Ohio State’s Biggest Strengths
- Oregon’s Biggest Strengths

Ohio State Players To Watch

5. WR Devin Smith, Sr.

While he’s not the team’s leading receiver, he’s arguably the offense’s most devastating weapon averaging a whopping 27.7 yards per catch on just 32 grabs, making the most of them with 12 touchdown catches. The 6-1, 199-pounder averaged 15 yards per catch last season, but turned into even more of a home-run hitter this season with blazing deep speed to go along with the size to outmuscle his way to the ball. While he’ll disappear at times, and he’s not going to be a key chain-mover, with four catches for 137 yards and three scores against Wisconsin, and two catches for 87 yards and a gamechanging 57-yard touchdown catch against Alabama, he’ll keep the Oregon defensive backs up at night.

4. OG Pat Elfein, Soph.

It was a bit of a rebuilding year for the offensive line, and while OT Taylor Decker was the star coming into the season, it was Elfein who got the First-Team All-Big Ten honors as one of the key reasons the running game turned into such a dominant force. While he’s not a massive space-eater at 6-3 and 300 pounds, he’s a blaster when he needs to be and is terrific on the move. The line is terrific overall, but it’s Elfein – No. 65 – who’ll do most of the heavy lifting on key plays.

3. QB Cardale Jones, Soph.

We can all stop now with the third-string quarterback stuff. Yes, he was No. 3 on the depth chart this summer behind Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, but even coming off the bench against Michigan he’s one of the Big Ten’s best quarterbacks. A top 25 quarterback recruit, the 6-5, 250-pounder has one of the best deep arms in college football, and while he’s not Miller or Barrett on the run, he’s not a statue – he can move when he absolutely has to. Thrown into the fire, he hit 71% of his throws for 257 yards and three touchdowns to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship, and settled down in time against Alabama to finish with 243 yards and a touchdown with a pick. He might not be the star quarterback in this game, but he doesn’t have to be – he just has to be solid and let everyone else around him roll.

2. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Soph.

This was a bad year to try to get All-Big Ten recognition with Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman each ripping off over 2,000 yards, and with Minnesota’s David Cobb and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah coming up with stellar seasons, but Elliott has turned into one of the hottest backs in America at just the right time. The 6-0, 225-pounder has 1,632 yards and 14 scores – averaging 6.89 yards per pop – in 14 games, and he’s been a decent receiver with 27 grabs so far, but he’ll forever be known for giving Buckeye fans their victory cigar moment in the Sugar Bowl with his 85-yard scoring dash with just over three minutes to play. While he’s a home run hitter, he’s also a power back through the interior when needed to get the hard yards. Mostly, though, he’s become a gamebreaker with 220 yards and two scores in the Big Ten championship blasting of Wisconsin, and a 230-yard, two touchdown effort against Alabama.

1. DE Joey Bosa, Soph.

The superstar recruit of 2013 was every bit as good as advertised, from the start, and he took his game up a few notches this year with a unanimous All-Big Ten selection. The 6-6, 278-pound Florida native was a fantastic get for the program, snagging him away from SEC country, and he’s been one of the nation’s top pass rushers over the last two seasons with 13.5 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 53 tackles this season. Very big, very quick off the ball, and with a motor that doesn’t stop, he’s a prototype NFL playmakers who’d be a top 20 pick if he was eligible to come out this year, and now it’s time to show off even more. He had a good game against Alabama, but against Oregon, he has to give Marcus Mariota a long night.

- Keys To The Game: Ohio State
- Keys To The Game: Oregon
- Ohio State Players To Watch
- Oregon Players To Watch
- Ohio State’s Biggest Strengths
- Oregon’s Biggest Strengths


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