Ohio State's names to know

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Even with so much of his time in the spotlight crammed into just a couple of starts, the quarterback at Ohio State is an open book.

It's well documented that he's a third-string option, the latest guy off the Urban Meyer assembly line behind Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett to come out packaged and ready to rewrite the record books.

Yes, he once sent out an infamous tweet when he was a true freshman that caused him to be suspended, become a punch line -- and then grow up in a hurry.

He has a rocket arm. He's a huge, physical presence. He can also hurdle defenders and has speed to burn.

So, Cardale Jones isn't necessarily the mystery man anymore, even with just two postseason starts to his credit. And maybe these Buckeyes aren't exactly anonymous either, but just in case as the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T draws closer, here's a helpful guide to a few more key players to know ahead of the historic clash with No. 2 Oregon.

The Phenom: Joey Bosa

Bosa Bosa
Position: Defensive end
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Class: Sophomore
Calling card: His post-sack celebration that looks like an emoji
There wasn't much doubt about his ability to rush the passer. Even as a true freshman somewhat unexpectedly thrust into the starting lineup last year during the first month of the season due to injuries elsewhere, Bosa was quickly disrupting passing attacks, brutalizing quarterbacks and finishing with 7.5 sacks while just scratching the surface of his freakish ability. If anything, Bosa has actually had to scale back his aggression to become a more complete defensive end. And while that hasn't cut down on a sack total that stands at 13.5 this season, it has actually made him even more dangerous as he's run up his tackles for loss to 20 and become just as much of a problem for rushing attacks. "I just try to balance everything, my run game, my pass game, and I just try to get better at everything equally so I really don't have any flaws or downsides," Bosa said. "Obviously I do, and I'm just going to keep working. I try to really play within the defense, and I guess I do a little bit more now, I just have to trust what's going on, I have to do what I'm told and plays will come to me. I don't need to be Superman out there and go be trying to make crazy plays." Even without him trying, plays few guys are capable of making have become the norm for the Buckeyes. And after they're over, all Bosa can do is shrug about it.

The Home Run Threat: Devin Smith

Smith Smith
Position: Wide receiver
Hometown: Massillon, Ohio
Class: Senior
Calling card: Hauling in deep balls
There may be no stronger arm in college football than the one Jones uses to blast footballs down the field, but try as he might, it might be almost impossible for him to launch a rocket that Smith can't track down. "I always tell him, if I ever underthrow him, he can slap me," Jones said. "And he basically tells me that I'll never overthrow him, because he can catch up to it." While Smith is tracking down footballs, defensive backs have frequently been left scrambling to catch up to him, yet another task with an extremely high degree of difficulty. With track-star speed, a high jumper's ability to outleap cornerbacks and an innate ability to locate the football in the air, Smith has become one of the most explosive threats in the nation, averaging an eye-popping 38 yards per touchdown catch. Even more dangerous for opponents: Ohio State is undefeated in the 22 games in which he has scored. "I just feel like a lot of defensive backs that we play against really can't hold up with me when I run," Smith said. "I think the speed threatens them a lot." And it certainly makes for an appealing target for Jones, especially since he doesn't want to get slapped.

The Hoarder: Tyvis Powell

Powell Powell
Position: Safety
Hometown: Bedford, Ohio
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Calling card: Nabbing game-clinching interceptions and keeping the ball
There's one ball already back home. Another will soon be on the way. Now the defensive back is working on adding another to his collection of game-clinching footballs that have found their way into his hands during critical victories he has sealed with interceptions. "It's not stealing," Powell joked. "I just inherit it, you know. It was given to me." More like he's taken it away from opponents, which he is most likely to do at the most opportune time possible. The first pigskin was claimed after he stepped in front of a make-or-break two-point conversion attempt last season on the road against rival Michigan, a pick that finally decided a wild shootout and finished off a second consecutive perfect regular season for the Buckeyes. He added to his collection in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, coming down with an interception on Alabama's last-ditch Hail Mary throw and actually returning it 29 yards to partially delay a celebration that was starting to spill over from the Ohio State sideline. And while there isn't much else Powell seems interested in collecting in terms of souvenirs, he's not content with just two footballs either. "I mean, I don't think [either interception has] really quite hit me yet," Powell said. "I don't think it's going to hit me until after I'm finished playing because my thing is, I don't feel like I'm done. I feel like I've still got a lot more to do." If the title game comes down to a late pass against the Ohio State defense, there's one safe bet who might show up to snag it.

The Workhorse: Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott Elliott
Position: Running back
Hometown: St. Louis
Class: Sophomore
Calling card: Racking up yardage on the ground
The roll call of decorated running backs in the Big Ten was so long, it might have been understandable if fatigue set in before Elliott's name came up midway through the season. But it won't be long until it zips to the top of the pecking order, and he's spent the postseason making sure that everybody knows exactly who he is. Piling up 450 yards and four touchdowns during the Big Ten title game and the Sugar Bowl certainly has a way of establishing a player as one of the best rushers in the nation. "I think definitely I'm getting some attention nationally, but all the credit is due to my line," Elliott said. "They've gotten better and better every game of the year, and the holes are opening up, they're gaping. They're definitely opening up some great holes for me to run through, and I just have to do what God has given me the talent to do once I get into open space." Once he gets there, typically the only thing Elliott has to worry about is finding a video screen so he can figure out when exactly he can slow down and coast to the end zone. In the wins over Wisconsin and Alabama, replays clearly showed Elliott sneaking peeks at defenders trailing in his speedy wake on scoring runs that covered 81 and 85 yards, respectively. But with the huge screen at AT&T Stadium hanging over the field, there might be no rest for Elliott if the line keeps paving a clear path to the end zone for him. "I'm just going to have to go," Elliott said. "Run, Forrest, run."

Forrest Gump, obviously, isn't actually on the Ohio State roster. But getting to know these Buckeyes who are around to help Jones as he tries to extend his winning streak should provide a head start for anybody gearing up for the title game.