COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The signs of development were there earlier in the last month of the season.
Urban Meyer joked about the fresh-faced look on one of his young, stud defensive ends had heading into a win over Illinois, and how Adolphus Washington was starting to chip away at it.
By the end of the freshman's first battle with rival Michigan, Washington looked like a full-fledged man -- and at least in a brief spurt, capable of filling the shoes of one of the most decorated linemen in Ohio State history.
The Buckeyes were quite obviously bitterly disappointed not to have two-time captain and Big Ten defensive lineman of the year John Simon on the field with them on Saturday against the Wolverines. But they were able to survive without him thanks largely to the work Washington has done this season to speed up his development and make a contribution.
His sack and forced fumble against the Wolverines might have been the only entry on the stats sheet, but it resonated given the opponent -- and the one-on-one matchup he won against one of the better blockers in the conference. Along with Washington, we wrap up the season-long look at the weekly contributions from the freshmen with a couple others who flashed and made an impact as the perfect record was officially nailed down.
Position: Defensive lineman
Stats sheet: A tackle, sack and forced fumble