This is the fifth installment in a series where Buckeye Huddle looks back on each member of Ohio State’s 2023 signing class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming 2024 season. Up next is defensive end Joshua Mickens.
As a senior at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Joshua Mickens posted 74 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He was a First-Team All-State selection and named the the top defensive lineman in the state of Indiana by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. He also averaged 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game on the basketball team as a senior.
Mickens (6-5 236) was the top-ranked recruit in the state of Indiana per multiple services. He was a four-star prospect who was rated the No. 17 edge prospect in the 2023 recruiting class, and the No. 119 player overall per the 247Sports Composite. Mickens committed to LSU in July of 2022, but OSU offered in November and he flipped to the Buckeyes about six weeks later. He also held offers from Michigan, Florida State, USC, and others.
It was not a busy season on the field for Joshua Mickens, as he saw just one snap in one game. That snap came against Michigan State, but he did not record a tackle. It was a deep defensive end room and Mickens didn’t arrive until the summer, which didn’t help matters, but likely wouldn’t have changed the redshirting outcome.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was still very excited to sign Mickens after flipping him from LSU.
“Josh, to add him to the class was great,” Day said back on signing day in December of 2022. “He’s from Indiana and he’s very athletic. Basketball player. We had him in camp. For him to make the decision down the stretch was big for us. We think he can be a very, very good player.”
So Now What For Joshua Mickens?
Ohio State returns every defensive end from the 2023 season, save for redshirt freshman Omari Abor who entered the transfer portal after the season. That includes starters JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer, as well as their backups Kenyatta Jackson and Caden Curry. The only other defensive end to see time this past season is Mitchell Melton, who will be a fifth-year senior in 2024.
This all means that playing time for Joshua Mickens isn’t going to be easy to come by. However, with the start of the 12-team playoffs this year, the Buckeyes are planning on playing 16 games this season, so there could be more opportunities than there have been in the past as defensive line coach Larry Johnson manages playing time for his pass rushers.
This winter, Mickens will go through his first winter workouts and then head into his first spring camp. Those two things will give him an opportunity to build momentum into summer workouts and then fall camp. If he impresses, it will be up to Larry Johnson to find him snaps regardless of who else is on the team.
As football people will tell you, you can never have enough quality defensive linemen, and Joshua Mickens should add to that number for the Buckeyes in 2024.