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Meet Joey Bosa: Social-media superstar

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There is no curtain to pull back for Joey Bosa, no privacy he is fighting to protect and no fear of what people think about him.

The spotlight is already on the Ohio State sophomore anyway, the product of his emergence as one of the nation's most feared pass-rushers and a likely shoo-in as the top defender in the Big Ten. But even when he's away from the field, Bosa still attracts plenty of attention, which suits a player in this social-media age who has no problems living his life out loud and plugged in.

Want to know what Bosa is listening to these days? Look for a screenshot of what he's currently got blasting through his headphones.

Tips on the latest video games? Hey, Bosa just downloaded the new Call of Duty.

Have a question about his game-winning sack at Penn State? He'll chime in on Twitter to talk about his assignment on that play.

Even his celebrations translate to less than 140 characters, with his "shrug" easily converted into emoji form and a wildly-popular trend given how many opportunities to bust it out he's had this season while leading the conference in sacks.

None of this might matter if Bosa hadn't proved worthy of the attention when he puts down his phone, turns off the music or powers down his video games. But considering his impact when he hits the field and how much he likes to share his hobbies off it, Bosa has effectively become the poster boy for a new generation of athletes.

"I don't feel the need to really hide what I am or who I am," Bosa told ESPN.com. "I mean, obviously, I can't say some things and I can't go all the way out there, but I like showing my personality. I don't want to be just like every other athlete. Perfect, same-old, same-old thing. I just like being different.

"I just hope people don't take it like a cockiness or anything like that. I just like having fun. If you're not having fun, then what's the point of it all?"

Bosa has had plenty to enjoy lately for the Buckeyes, and they're certainly having fun unleashing the physical freak on the Big Ten during his breakout sophomore campaign.

Ohio State already had seen glimpses of what Bosa might be capable of a year ago after he somewhat surprisingly worked himself into the starting lineup as a true freshman, bursting on the scene with 7.5 sacks and quickly building some early buzz for what the future might hold for a player with his size at 6-foot-5, 278 pounds, his underrated speed and relentless motor. But he's perhaps arrived as one of the most complete defensive linemen in the nation ahead of schedule, racking up 14.5 tackles for loss, adding 10 sacks, forcing 3 fumbles and helping drag the Buckeyes back into the College Football Playoff conversation ahead of Saturday's showdown at Michigan State.

And along the way, he's entertaining his more than 27,000 followers on Twitter during the week and providing a peek at the rest of his life as a college student.

"He's definitely not a soft-spoken guy," Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker said. "It's not like he's arrogant or anything, but he knows what he likes and he'll say things that he wants to say. He's not doing it with a malicious intent or anything, that's just how he is. He's kind of a goofball and just says what he wants to say.

"Everybody has a personality on and off the field. You know, once you cross that line, it's all business. But I also think it's a thing where in practice, you have to make it fun. You can't be all serious, all the time."

If anybody expects an extreme level of intensity at all times from Bosa, they are certainly going to be disappointed.

Based on a few social-media interactions Bosa has had this season, there are a few people who have taken exception with the way he likes to spend his free time. His openness also allows direct access to opposing fans who might not have enjoyed seeing the Shrug as much as the folks at the Horseshoe usually do.

But Bosa is just as likely to interact with those people as he is anybody else, and they haven't done anything to impact the way he lives.

"People can hate, everyone has haters," Bosa said. "I mean, I like spending time on that stuff. It's more taking up my sleep time than my work time. If you're getting your stuff done and making plays, doing everything you're supposed to, that's the business part of it. As long as you're doing that, there should be no problem with having fun every once in a while.

"I'm going to do what I do. I'm not going to change who I've been my whole life. Just going to continue to be what I am."

Want to know who exactly Bosa is? He's not hiding it, and he's not hard to find on or off the field.