Ohio State center Harry Miller to miss Buckeyes’ opener at Minnesota

Ohio State center Harry Miller is among a handful of players who will not be able to play for the Buckeyes on Thursday night at Minnesota.

Miller, a junior who started at guard last season and is expected to be the starting center for 2021, is among 11 players unavailable according to a report published by the school.

Likely starting in Miller’s place will be Luke Wypler, a redshirt freshman from Montvale, N.J., or Matt Jones, junior from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Wypler was the No. 2 center during portions of practice open to the media during the preseason, but Jones was also among players to get reps at the position in the spring and has starting experience at guard.

Miller has long been regarded as the heir apparent to All-Big Ten performer Josh Myers a center, but offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said early in camp there was still competition for the spot.

“That is a heck of a battle — Harry Miller is back and he is physical and strong. Luke Wypler is probably the most dedicated guy for a freshman kid to learn the (center) position I have ever been around,” Studrawa said. “We got done with the national championship game and two days later I got a video and he was in here working out – two days after the game.

“He said, ‘Coach, I’m going to go win the job.’ I love what both of them are doing. They are both intelligent and tough.”

The other most notable absence will be Cameron Brown, a junior cornerback from St. Louis. He was a starter last season before suffering a season-ending leg injury in the second game, but no reason for this absence was provided for Brown or any other player who is out.

Brown is among several players vying for playing time at a position where Ohio State collectively struggled last season, but there is no shortage of candidates for playing time. That includes senior returning starter Sevyn Banks along with highly touted redshirt freshmen Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts.

Senior Demario McCall, a former running back, could also see more snaps as a result of Brown’s absence.

The Ohio State defensive line will also be missing some depth as seniors Tyler Friday and Jerron Cage are unavailable. Head coach Ryan Day previously revealed Friday has a knee injury that likely will keep him out all season.

Cage is expected to be part of a rotation inside with at least four players for two spots. The others are returning starter Haskell Garrett and fellow upperclassmen Antwuan Jackson and Taron Vincent.

Without Friday, Ohio State still has veterans Zach Harrison, Tyreke Smith and Javontae Jean-Baptiste along with a handful of youngsters, including five-star true freshmen Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau.

Also unavailable Thursday night are senior receiver Kamryn Babb, freshman defensive backs Jantzen Dunn and Jaylen Johnson, redshirt freshman linebacker Mitchell Melton, tight end Joe Royer and offensive linemen Jakob James and Toby Wilson.

Without Miller, Ohio State will have two starters available from last season — Nicholas Petit-Frere and Thayer Munford — on the offensive line, but neither of them are expected to be in the spot they spent 2020.

Munford has moved to left guard after starting at left tackle. He will be replaced by Petit-Frere, who was the starting right tackle last season. Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones are expected to be the right guard and tackle, respectively.

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