“Captain was definitely on my list,” said the Maryland native. "I never really visualized it like I did other things, but I feel like when I got more into the program, when I got the meaning of being a Buckeye was, I was like, ‘Man, I want to be a part of that group of people who can lead a team.’ The opportunity was there, and I've just taken it.”
At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds with long, powerful arms, Young is a prototypical end for Ohio State’s 4-3 defensive scheme.
Strong enough to disengage from a blocker and quick and athletic enough to get around the edge without altering his course to the quarterback, Young is still stout enough to hold his ground against the run game.
His ability was immediately apparent from the first time he took the field for the Buckeyes two years ago after making a name for himself at East Coast powerhouse DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, where he was the No. 2 weak-side defense end and seventh-best prospect regardless of position in the country in 247Sports Composite rankings for 2017.
With the depth of the Ohio State defensive line his freshman season, not much was needed from Young, but he contributed six tackles for loss and forced a fumble anyway.
He entered last season expecting to play a significant role but became one of the team’s most important players after Nick Bosa was lost for the season to a core muscle injury.
As a sophomore, Young had 14.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks en route to second-team All-Big Ten recognition.
His name is on multiple preseason All-America lists entering 2019, but his words could be as important as his actions this fall as the Buckeyes look to regain the swagger of former Ohio State defenses following a down year.
“(He is) mature, very mature,” coach Ryan Day said. “He's a leader. Gets up in front of the team (it) feels like almost every other practice. He's the voice of our defense right now. That's what I feel. That's what I see. I see a guy who is practicing really, really hard, and got a really mature approach.
Young, who is also an engaging interview off the field, takes pride in becoming a vocal leader and setting a positive example for his younger teammates, including a big group of sophomore ends who hope to follow in his footsteps.
“I just feel like you've got to do everything right, on and off the field,” he said. “You can't be late to things.
“People — just especially young guys — they watch what you do. They're trying to copy everything you do on the field, off the field, because they just got here. Some just got here and some are still learning the whole system, how to be a Buckeye.”
As for his choice of motivation, Young said he likes to remind teammates — many of whom arrived in Columbus, like him, with impressive recruiting rankings — sacrifice is necessary to reach their potential.
“Especially a lot of the young dudes, they come in with all these big goals, and if you want to go on the field and not go 100 percent or just have bad body language, you can't achieve what you want doing that,” Young said. “So I try to bring that back to 'em like, 'You said you want to do this, You said you want to do that, but you can't achieve those if you're doin this. So let's go. Pick it up.’”