The next time Ohio State plays a real football game, Josh Myers expects to be more than a spectator.
Not that the sophomore-to-be from Miamisburg feels entitled to a spot on the offensive line when Florida Atlantic comes to Columbus on Aug. 31...
It’s just that he’s put in the work.
Well, that and his coach says he is ready two years after enrolling in January 2017.
“It’s just a matter of time maturing until they’re ready to go,” Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said. “I wouldn’t have been afraid to play Josh Myers in a game the past month.”
Studrawa was entertaining the idea of making Myers his starting center in 2019 even before All-American center Michael Jordan announced last week he is entering the NFL draft a year early.
Now the job is Myers’ to lose, but he is not taking anything for granted.
“I think I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, especially in the offseason, really continue to work in my pass protection,” Myers said at the Rose Bowl. "I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in my pass protection now that I once was.”
That’s an accomplishment for any offensive lineman making the transition to the college game, but even more so for one coming from an offense like the Miamisburg Wing-T.
While the Vikings can mash defenses with the best of them, passing was generally an afterthought during Myers’ career.
That’s just fine with Studrawa, though. Give him an offensive lineman who likes to ground and pound opponents and he will teach him the rest.
Of course, there’s more to playing center at Ohio State than blocking.
It also requires a player with a high football IQ, and Myers fits the bill.
“The center position is about intelligence,” Studrawa said. “You’re the field general making the calls out there. Josh is to the point now where he understands it and he can handle it and do that. And his physical tools are starting to show up now.”
Those tools were never in doubt.
A four-star prospect in high school, Myers was the top-rated player in Ohio in 2017 according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
He was an early commit to the Buckeyes and later an early enrollee.
Myers started out at guard, but he didn’t have to think about it long when Studrawa suggested a move to center last winter.
“I said whatever — Whatever will get me on the field fastest,” Myer recalled. “ I just want to play.”
A new position meant more to learn, and Myers admitted the transition was slow because he was still mastering the Ohio State offense.
He felt it all came together during Ohio State’s bye week in late October.
After a strong team run-blocking drill, Myers won a handful of pass-rush drills and felt like a new man.
“I just had a great day offensively and everything started clicking after that,” he recalled.
When Demetrius Knox suffered a season-ending foot injury in the Michigan game, redshirt freshman Wyatt Davis took his spot in the starting lineup in the Big Ten championship game, but Studrawa said after the 45-24 victory over Northwestern he was ready to put Myers in the game if Davis struggled early.
A month later, senior right tackle Isaiah Prince said Myers was among those catching his eyes in during bowl practice.
“Josh is crazy strong, and when he plays physical with that motor, I don't think anybody can stop him,” Prince said. “Just seeing that is exciting.”
Days before the Rose Bowl, Myers couldn’t hold back a smile when asked about his progress.
It was more than the California sun that had him feeling good.
“It’s nothing set in stone,” he said of moving into the starting lineup this spring. "It’s not like I don’t have to go work for it and go get it. I’m just excited for that opportunity to be in front of me.”