Joey Bosa has Tamba Hali pegged as the player he'd most like to emulate at the NFL level, but not for the reason most players pick a career model.
Bosa, the former Ohio State star who is considered a candidate to be a top-five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has thought this through.
"Coach (Larry) Johnson, who was my (Ohio State defensive line) coach, he had a guy, Tamba Hali," Bosa told NFL Network on Friday at Super Bowl 50. "When I watch him, he's just so vicious with his hands. I see coach Johnson in him so much that I'd like to resemble my game after him."
Indeed, Johnson was at Penn State for the entirety of Hali's college career at PSU. Like Bosa, Hali emerged as one of the top pass rushers in the Big Ten and went on to be drafted No. 20 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006. The pick proved to be a good one, as Hali has amassed 86 career sacks over 10 seasons.
One key difference between their college careers? Hali didn't make much of an impact until his final year with the Nittany Lions, 2005, when he amassed 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks to garner a first-round grade from the Chiefs. Bosa, by contrast, as been a dominant figure in the Big Ten since his freshman year in 2013.
But while Hali was a late bloomer in college, he's been remarkably consistent at the pro level, with six sacks or more in nine of his 10 pro seasons. Bosa would do well to incorporate Hali's durability, as well.