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Looking Forward: Buckeye Offensive Line in 2017 and Beyond
By Ben van Ooyen
Wyatt Davis is expected to be a cornerstone of Urban Meyer's 2017 signing class.

(You can follow Ben van Ooyen on Twitter at @BuckeyeBVO.)

With only one senior on the offensive line this season in Pat Elflein, the Buckeyes are relatively young at this position moving forward. They should return four starters next season unless junior Billy Price decides to go to the NFL early. The two young pups on the line this season have performed well at times in Michael Jordan and Isaiah Prince.

Although Prince struggled a bit here and there, this season has been proof that the Buckeyes can and have been recruiting the right athletes at this position over the past few seasons, as normally such young kids would not be developed enough to come in and play this soon. Jordan is the first true freshman offensive lineman to start for the Buckeyes since Orlando Pace did it in 1994.

In that same vein, the 2017 class is highlighted by two very talented offensive linemen in Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis. Myers hails from Miamisburg, Ohio and is a 5-star recruit and the No. 1 overall prospect from the state of Ohio. He committed to the Buckeyes back in January of 2015, and is slated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7th, 2017 before enrolling at Ohio State in January.

The Buckeyes got a nice surprise in June when 5-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis committed after a visit tour of Notre Dame, Michigan, and Ohio State. Davis is the No. 5 prospect out of the state of California and the No. 1 offensive guard prospect in the country. Both of the Buckeye commitments rank inside the top 15 overall prospects in the nation according to 247Sports. The Buckeyes did have three prospects committed at one time as 4-star offensive tackle Jake Moretti decommitted and committed to his home state Colorado Buffaloes back in mid-November.

The Buckeyes were in prime position to land Trey Smith out of Tennessee earlier this month, but when it came down to his decision, he picked the comfort and relationships of his home state Tennessee Volunteers over the Buckeyes. Landing Smith would have been a huge get and given the Buckeyes three 5-star offensive lineman in this class.  

With Smith out of the picture most think that Ohio State will offer in-state 4-star recruit Thayer Munford out of Massillon. Munford has offers from 16 programs including Alabama, Tennessee and Michigan State, but an offer from the Buckeyes would likely be accepted as long as he hasn’t committed elsewhere by then. Ohio State may wait until after the dead period to see where they stand with commitments before extending an offer Munford’s way.

2017 Depth Chart

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

Josh Myers
Wyatt Davis

Jake Wohlabaugh (RS)
Gavin Cupp (RS)
Tyler Gerald (RS)

Kevin Feder (RS)
Matthew Burrell (RS)
Branden Bowen (RS)
Michael Jordan

Kyle Trout (RS)
Demetrius Knox (RS)
Brady Taylor (RS)
Isaiah Prince
Malcolm Pridgeon (RS)

Evan Lisle (RS)
Billy Price (RS)
Jamarco Jones

The Buckeyes currently sit at two commitments for the class of 2018, and while both are on the offensive side of the ball, neither of them is an offensive lineman. However, the Buckeyes have their sights set on quite a few high profile athletes in this recruiting cycle including Jackson Carman out of Fairfield, Ohio. Carman is ranked as Ohio's No. 1 prospect for the class of 2018, and is the top-ranked offensive tackle in the country. Rivals has him as the No. 2 prospect in the 2018 class overall. He has been a frequent visitor at Ohio State games this fall, and most believe that it's only a matter of time before he picks the Buckeyes. He has visited Notre Dame and Alabama as well this fall. Notre Dame is the other school to watch in this one.

Another name to watch for is Matt Jones out of Brooklyn, New York's Erasmus Hall High School, home to current Buckeye Curtis Samuel. There is no doubt that the success of Samuel at Ohio State is having a positive effect on Jones, as currently he has a 100% crystal ball projection to the Buckeyes. He visited for the Friday Night Lights camp this past July and since then has been offered by Tennessee. Jones is the No. 1 player from the state of New York and could potentially also play on the defensive side of the ball depending on where the Buckeye see him fitting in.

There is a litany of other players that the Buckeyes have on their early radar including Jamaree Salyer, the No. 1 offensive guard in the country. Salyer has 21 offers and currently has a crystal ball projection of playing for his home state Georgia Bulldogs. Richard Gouraige is another top offensive lineman with a Buckeye offer, and he hails from Florida. Other names to keep an eye on going forward are Nicholas Petit-Frere and Cleveland Reed out of Florida, and Darrell Simpson from the state of Texas.

One Ohio guy to watch is Blaine Scott out of Portsmouth. While he doesn't have an Ohio State offer yet, he is still high on the Buckeyes and likely will earn an offer once the staff’s focus goes to 2018 kids.

2018 Depth Chart

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

 

Josh Myers (RS?)
Wyatt Davis (RS?)

Jake Wohlabaugh (RS)
Gavin Cupp (RS)
Tyler Gerald (RS)

Kevin Feder (RS)
Matthew Burrell (RS)
Branden Bowen (RS)
Michael Jordan

Kyle Trout (RS)
Demetrius Knox (RS)
Brady Taylor (RS)
Isaiah Prince
Malcolm Pridgeon (RS)

The Ohio State Buckeye coaching staff is very selective in offering offensive lineman very early, as they tend to continue to grow and develop further into their high school careers. Having misses in recruiting on the offensive line can set your offense back drastically if you do not have enough quality players to protect your quarterback and open up holes for the running game.

The Buckeyes only have one offer out to a 2019 athlete and that is Devonte Dobbs out of Bellville, Michigan. Dobbs currently has an 83% crystal ball projection to play for the home state Wolverines, but the Buckeyes have plucked a few gems out of the state up north recently, so never count out the Buckeyes recruiting Michigan kids.

Ohio State has had some great linemen come through the program in the Urban Meyer era who are now playing on Sundays, like Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell and Taylor Decker, not to mention all of the previous Buckeyes who have gone on to have solid NFL careers. That looks to continue next year when Pat Elflein leaves the program after four solid years on the offensive line.

Elflein was a low 3-star recruit and blossomed into one of the biggest leaders on this 2016 team. I look for Billy Price to take over that mantle next year along with returning starters Jamarco Jones, Isaiah Prince, and Michael Jordan. The Buckeyes have built up depth at the offensive line position, but they want to make sure that they are getting everything they can out of them to succeed not only at the collegiate level, but to provide them an opportunity to continue their careers professionally as well.

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