Striving to be No. 1
Ex-Aquinas star Bosa looks to fulfill dream of being top pick
INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL draft will feature one of the most talented and deepest group of defensive linemen in league history.
South Florida’s Nick Bosa, a former St. Thomas Aquinas High
standout who played at Ohio State, has a chance to be considered the best player of them all.
“It would be a dream come true,” Bosa said Saturday at the NFL scouting combine when asked about potentially being the No. 1 overall pick.
“That would just mean so much to me to be thought of as the best player in the draft.”
Bosa will participate in a number of football drills during the combine on Sunday, along with several defensive ends and defensive tackles who could potentially join him as first-round picks.
Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who could also be a top-five pick, considers himself fortunate to be in the loaded defensive line group.
“But what sets me apart is my IQ level of football,” Williams said. “I feel like I can break down film like a quarterback, and watch for tendencies.”
Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver — who quieted concerns he was undersized by measuring in at
6 foot 2 — had a horse named Oreo he credits with helping him become fearless.
“When you’re fighting with a
1,000-pound animal, I ain’t wor-
“It would be a dream come true. That would just mean so much to me to be thought of as the best player in the draft.” —Nick Bosa, former St. Thomas Aquinas standout on possibly being selected No. 1 overall
ried about no 300 pounds,” Oliver said regarding opposing offensive linemen.
“I feel like every player that’s here should feel like they’re the best D-linemen,” Oliver continued. “I definitely feel like I’m the best D-lineman.”
Florida State defensive end Brian Burns, a former American Heritage Plantation High standout, could have benefited from a senior season with the Seminoles. But he has a unique, rangy skill set that intrigues NFL scouts and executives at the defensive end and outside linebacker positions.
“This is the most talent I’ve ever seen,” Burns said. “Just sitting in the room with these guys, looking at them every day is like ‘wow, this is the defensive class.’ It means a lot. Just to be in that conversation is a blessing.”
Florida defensive end Jachai Polite, who is roommates at the combine with Bosa, is trying to find a balance between staying humble and promoting himself.
“He’s so cool. He’s probably going No. 1, and that’s crazy. I’d never imagine I’d be in the same room as him — literally,” Polite said of Bosa. “I stay humble, but I got to talk myself up. I have to believe in myself first. I feel like I am the most athletic guy in this class. My film speaks for itself.”
Clemson’s trio of Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence — who were once coach by new Miami Dolphins defensive line coach Marion Hobby at the school — are also in the mix.
Mississippi State teammates Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons, Boston College defensive end Zach Allen or Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones could be first-round selections as well.
Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary may have been the most assertive when discussing where he stands among the competition.
“I’m the best player in this draft, offensively or defensively — period,” Gary said.
Bosa may have one of the most
unique college careers out of all highly-touted prospects in the draft. He thought he was going to have a standout junior season until he suffered a bilateral core muscle injury during the third game of the year at TCU on Sept. 15.
The injury occurred in the groin/lower abdomen area, where Bosa said he had both sides surgically repaired because there was risk for future injury if only one side was fixed.
Bosa left Ohio State one month later, to preserve his health and first-round potential, instead of trying to recover from the injury and play again in college.
“When it happened and I got home from that TCU game, I was lying in bed. I could barely get up.
It was one of the darkest moments of my life so far,” Bosa said.
“So for me to talk to my family, and let them bring me up, and just know my life is still good, and I still have amazing blessings and a bright future, that’s what got me through it.”
Bosa does not want to think about how Ohio State’s season, which was coach Urban Meyer’s last with the Buckeyes, would have unfolded if he was in the mix.
But he is grateful for his family and support system for helping him get through the most difficult juncture in his life.
Bosa moved in with his older brother, Joey, who was the No. 3 overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2016. They lived together
in Orange County, Calif., until the NFL season ended before moving back to Fort Lauderdale for the offseason.
Now, he has a chance to make some family and NFL draft history.
John Bosa, Nick’s father, and Eric Kumerow, Nick’s uncle, were both selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 1987 and 1988 NFL drafts, respectively. They played three seasons each in Miami.
Nick Bosa has a chance to be the fourth first-round pick in his family, with a chance to be drafted the highest.
“My uncle went 16th, my dad went 16th,” he said. “My brother went third, and hopefully I’m going pretty high as well. It’s pretty awesome.”
Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa, a star at St. Thomas Aquinas High, believes he can be the top pick in this year’s NFL draft.
Ohio State’s Nick Bosa arguably is the best of a deep class of defensive linemen eligible for the draft.