Meet Ohio State’s Javontae Jean-Baptiste: gamer, anime fan, riddler


Javontae Jean-Baptiste went to Ohio State from Bergen Catholic High School, where he was rated as a four-star linebacker. He took a redshirt year in 2018, moved to the defensive line and is now in his fifth season with the Buckeyes, during which he has so far recorded two sacks and forced a fumble.

It’s quite possible he’ll make an even bigger impact in the second half of the season because, as defensive line coach Larry Johnson observed, “There’s still a lot on the table that we haven’t done in the Jack package.” And the Jack package calls for a stand-up defensive lineman who can handle some of the responsibilities of a linebacker, perfect for someone of Jean-Baptiste’s 6-foot-5, 250-pound stature and background.

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Off the field, Jean-Baptiste has graduated with a degree in human development and family sciences. Plus, he is a gamer who often streams on Twitch, going by the handle “HEADSHOTSXJB.”

Get to know Javontae Jean-Baptiste:

So Ohio State football stars are all celebrities, at least to some extent. It makes me wonder, who’s the biggest celebrity you’ve met?

Coach Larry Johnson or coach Ryan Day. They’re some famous people. They’ve been in the game. They’re notorious. I think it’s probably them.

Who’s the biggest celebrity you want to meet?

I would like to meet (gamer) Doc Disrespect. I really want to meet (X Games gold medalist) Optic Scump. That’s who I want to meet.

So you play video games, and you go by “Headshot,” which I think the Big Ten would call targeting, by the way. You also play a physical sport. I’m mostly joking when I ask this, but are you just looking for a cheap alternative to therapy?

(Laughs) I do. I think I get my therapy from what I do in playing football and video games. That’s why it’s funny. I do feel like it’s therapeutic because you get to release a lot of anger and have good and happy moments.

Meet the Buckeyes:Roomates Zak Herbstreit and Toby Wilson finish each other’s sentences.

So would you describe yourself as a happy, laid-back person?

Yeah. For the most part. If I’m not either playing football or on the game, I’m just watching anime, just relaxing.

What’s your favorite anime?

You going to put me on the spot like this? My favorite anime, would have to be – it was my first one I’ve ever seen – “Dragonball Z.”

Old school.

Yup. Old school. Aside from that, I’m going to get a lot of hate, but I really like “Tokyo Ghoul.” I think that grew on me, even with a small, little decline in season three. After that, they clawed back up, and it was a great show. I fell in love with the characters.

Why did you study human development and family sciences?

When I came to Ohio State, I wanted to do sports industry at first. And then I kind of fell out of that. I’ve always had an understanding of working with people, and just going through this, I was able to take classes in psychology, working with people, understanding children, why certain people are the way as they’re growing up, how their relationships occur and stuff like that. So I really got interested in that.

Meet the Buckeyes:Very chill Chip Trayanum spends his free time training his mind.

So what is your grad work focused on?

I didn’t go for my master’s, but I am starting my second degree in communications.

Very nice. I saw you interviewing your teammates earlier. Are you coming for my job?

No. I think I’ll let you have your job.

Thank you for that.

I’ll let you have all the interview stuff. But I do like to ask some questions, you know. Like, I have a question for you.

OK.

If you’re running a race, and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in?

Second place.

That’s great. But I’m going to stump you with this next one.

Go ahead.

I’ll ask you later.

You like asking riddles, I take it?

Um-hmm.

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How did that hobby develop?

Some of my uncles would ask riddles and get my reaction on them. And then it just occurred that one day I was just sitting here in the facility, I wasn’t doing anything, and I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to start asking some riddles.” And people in the community started loving it. So I guess I’ve got to get back to asking the riddles. I’m sorry people. I’m coming back!

So you know what would be the perfect job for you would be game show host.

Oooooooooo. I’m liking where you’re going with this, girl. You might have something planned out for me that I didn’t even know.

Do you know what you want to do post-football?

To be honest … post-football, even now, I work on being a streamer. I stream now. I’m a part of a gaming team now, and people will find out about that soon enough. Aside from that, just finding ways to help the community, whether that’s working on social resources and HR, or just coming back to give back to the youth. Some way, I just got to be involved.

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I saw in the offseason, there was one time you were streaming for eight hours, I believe. What’s the longest you’ve ever gone?

I’d say off stream, one time I woke up at like 7, and I probably started playing a game at 7:30. It was a weekend, offseason. I didn’t get finished, I think, until maybe 11 or 12 at night. I take my little breaks in the middle. I just order food on Door Dash, pick it up, go downstairs, grab it, eat it and then get back on quickly. Streaming wise? I think around eight hours, nine hours might be the longest. I’ve tried to do 12 hours. I can’t do it. Not on a stream.

Do you have a favorite Door Dash order?

Not going to lie, Firehouse Subs has been my go-to on Door Dash. It’s either been Firehouse Subs or Penn Station, so talk to your boy, people.

Well, hopefully, someone in marketing is reading this. On a more serious note, is there a cause you’re particularly passionate about?

No. I don’t think so. I don’t think I’ve found a specific cause. I just felt like growing up not having it all, I feel like I always want to give back to those who don’t, so they can grow up a little better than I did. And by me doing that and being able to help better other people, I’ll feel OK with it.

If adult Javontae could give back to childhood Javontae, what would he give him?

Man. I think I wouldn’t give him anything. Because if I gave him something else, if I gave him something more, I may not be here.

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And what was the biggest source of stress for you then versus now?

Stress back then when I was a kid was just being aware of the area you were in, or knowing when to be outside at the right times. Stress now? School. I graduated college and I still have to take classes. Why, NCAA? Why? At least let me pick the classes I want.

If you could pick any class just for fun, what would it be?

Probably game design. I was supposed to get my minor in that, but it would have taken me a little longer to graduate. … Ohio State was supposed to have a gaming major, but we haven’t seen it yet. Someone point it to me, please.

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Anything else you want Ohio State fans to know about you?

I think Buckeye Nation knows me for who I am: I’m a football player who loves to have fun playing video games and I watch anime. So, look, if you watch anime growing up, and you want to have a conversation or a debate about it, come talk to me. We’ve got other guys on the team who like anime too, but I don’t think they’re as blatant with it. I’ll tell you who I am from the jump. Now, what starts with e, ends with e and has one letter in it?

An envelope.

Did you watch my videos before you came to see me?

I did look into your background, but I swear I didn’t cheat on the riddles.

What gets bigger the more you take away from it?

OK, that one you’re going to have to tell me.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmmmmm.

(Walks away.)

WAIT. IT’S A HOLE, ISN’T IT?

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