Nowadays, it’s not only vital to have a highlight tape on YouTube if you’re a high school athlete hoping to get noticed by college scouts.
Those who want to set themselves apart display their athletic prowess in other ways — like by making long-distance basketball shots or throwing a football into a garbage can from the cheap seats inside a stadium.
Joey Bosa never had to do either to get noticed. The All-Broward first-team defensive lineman from St. Thomas Aquinas was so highly sought-after as an underclassman, he has been done with the recruiting process for months. Bosa committed to Ohio State in April.
But the 6-4, 265-pound muscle-bound senior — and son of former Dolphins first-round pick John Bosa — still has a pretty cool trick video available on YouTube (with 3,642 views at last count) dubbed Bosa’s Backflip. It’s just one of the many amazing athletic feats, according to his coach, that makes Bosa the best at his position in the country.
“I don’t know how many kids you know that are 6-4, 270 pounds that can walk on their hands for 20 yards and do standing back flips, but you don’t find those every day,” said Rocco Casullo, who is entering his second season as Raiders coach. “I’ve been here for 11 years, coached a lot of great defensive players. Joey is the most dominating defensive player I’ve ever had. And we’ve had some pretty special guys — like [Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl defensive tackle] Geno Atkins, [Chicago Bears safety] Major Wright, [San Francisco 49ers linebacker] Tavares Gooden — come through here. Joey is really the complete player. He just loves football.”
Considered the 25th-best player in the nation regardless of position (and tops in Broward County) by Rivals.com, Bosa finished with 28 solo tackles, including 13 for loss, 4 1/2 sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in nine games last season. He missed three games because of a concussion. He also carries a 3.3 grade-point average. He doesn’t even really have a favorite subject and isn’t shy about it.
“I can’t tell you what Plan B is because I don’t really like any subjects,” Bosa said. “I just get my work done and get back in the gym, get back to football. I guess when I get to college I’ll figure out what I like. I’ll probably major in business or do something in real estate, maybe become an orthodontist — just something that I can make a lot of money in.”
Nicknamed “Bane” by his classmates — after the fictional villain in this summer’s latest Batman movie — Bosa said he bench presses up to 440 pounds and squats 500 pounds regularly.
What might be his most impressive example of strength, though, is how many times he bench presses the NFL-testing standard of 225 pounds. He did it 26 times recently. To give some perspective, recently drafted Dolphins rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon did 31 reps at the NFL Combine.
“He’s basically gained 30 pounds of muscle in the last year,” Aquinas defensive line coach Garin Patrick said. “It gives him the ability to control the blocker he’s playing against and do what he wants, and that obviously helps the rest of our line.”
In the trenches
Patrick said Bosa will line up at all three spots in Aquinas’ 3-4 defense to keep opposing teams from scheming against him. Bosa of course has some talented help around him. Anthony Moten (6-3, 265) is one of the top juniors in the country. Senior outside linebacker Lance Virgile (6-2, 215) led the team with six sacks last season.
“If you look at our past success when we won titles in ’07, ’08 and ’10 teams we were dominant up front,” Casullo said. “It’s a coach’s dream to be dominant in the trenches. We weren’t healthy there last year — it was a freak year for us.”
Bosa, who along with running back Fred Coppet and Moten are the only remaining players who had a role on 2010 state title team, said getting Aquinas back on top is all he’s concerned with heading into his senior season. He said the team was divided last season, but “we’re a big, happy family now.”
For the family
Beyond that, Bosa said, he would like to make two people proud: his father and his uncle, Eric Kumerow. Both were drafted 16th overall by the Dolphins in back-to-back years (1987 and 1988), but their pro careers never lived up to expectations.
Bosa said his father is now a businessman who owns a local gym and sells diet products. They talk football and the future all the time.
“Basically, my dad is who I look up to,” Bosa said. “My uncle was the top recruit in the nation just like me. I’ve heard people say I’ll be a bust just like my dad or my uncle. It’s pretty annoying. Both of them are good men. They just both got hurt.”