Name: Chase Winovich
Weight: 255 lbs.
High school: Jefferson Hills (PA) Jefferson
Position: Defensive end
Class: Fifth year senior
Jersey number: #15
Last year: I ranked Winovich #6 and said he would be the starting weakside end with 40 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks (LINK). He made 79 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks.
TTB Rating: 79
Winovich started to show what he can do back in 2016, but last year was his true breakout. He went from being a high-energy Taco Charlton backup to a high-energy Chase Winovich starter in the span of a year. After bouncing around from linebacker to tight end early in his career, he settled in at defensive end and became an All-Big Ten player (First Team for media, Second Team for coaches). His sack production dropped off after the first four games (he had 5.5 sacks in the first four games and only 2.5 in the final nine), but he still flew all over the field, managing 10 tackles against Ohio State and 18 against Wisconsin. Keep in mind that’s a weakside end making 18 tackles against the two best teams in the conference when it really counts at the end of the season.
This year should be another huge year for Winovich, though it’s hard for me to see him taking another giant step in production. He’s listed 10 pounds heavier than he was in 2017, and that might help his strength a little bit, but he already had a high motor and was a pretty disciplined football player. Winovich flirted with going to the NFL during the off-season, but he decided to come back for whatever reason. I don’t know that he’s going to prove much more in college, but I’m glad he came back for another year wearing the winged helmet. Winovich may not be as ultra-talented as Rashan Gary, but he’s more irreplaceable because of his attitude and the fact that all the guys behind him are young and unproven. The backup weakside ends include redshirt freshman Luiji Vilain, who has been banged up once again, and true freshman Aidan Hutchinson. I look forward to watching Winovich use his hustle and leverage to frustrate offensive tackles and quarterbacks once again in 2018.
Prediction: Starting weakside end; 70 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 8 sacks