Our 2019 Ohio State football season preview continues with the offensive line.
(See here for part one — the running backs.)
With four starters gone, coach Greg Studrawa has lots of questions — but perhaps just as many good answers.
That starts with a local product looking to break into the starting lineup for the first time and also includes a graduate transfer, a couple of intriguing young talents and a veteran looking to show what he can do back at 100 percent.
Returning starters: Thayer Munford
Rising: Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, Branden Bowen, Josh Alabi, Nicholas Petit-Frere
Newcomers: Jonah Jackson, Ryan Jacoby, Harry Miller, Dawand Jones, Enokk Vimahi
Others: Gavin Cupp, Max Wray, Matthew Jones, Nathan Brock, Jack Jamieson, Brandon Pahl, Kevin Woidke
Munford had a solid season as a sophomore starer and now is expected to anchor the unit at left tackle despite missing spring while recovering from an unidentified surgery.
Myers, a sophomore from Miamisburg, grabbed the starting center job in spring and is looking to lead the line from there with classmate Davis looking to capitalize on experience gained from starting the last two games last season.
>>READ MORE: Myers accomplishes spring goals, looks ahead
Davis is expected to be one of the starting guards while the other is likely to be Jackson or Bowen.
They are both seniors with past starting experience, though that is about the only similarity in their stories.
Jackson arrived this summer after an honorable mention All-Big Ten season at Rutgers, where he started 17 games over the last two seasons.
Bowen practiced but did not play last season while continuing to recover from a broken leg that ended his 2017 season after six games. He was full-go in the spring and there is a good chance he ends up being one of Ohio State’s best five linemen this fall.
That means Studrawa could put him at guard or right tackle, where Alabi is also a candidate after serving as the line’s top reserve last season as a junior.
Petit-Frere is a redshirt freshman who arrived from Tampa, Fla., with big hopes and showed promise in the spring, but he might still be a year away (especially if Bowen and Jackson look good in preseason) as he continues to bulk up for the rigors of Big Ten play.
Cupp, a junior from Leipsic, had his best spring yet while redshirt freshmen Wray and Jones pleased Studrawa in March and April as well.
>>SPRING RECAP: Gray tops Scarlet | Punter steals show | 5 takeaways | Photos
Miller is a five-star recruit from Georgia who arrived in June but is expected to contend for a spot in the two-deep at center or guard.
Myers and Jackson both can play guard or center, too, versatility that should give Studrawa plenty of options when crafting a lineup.
Jacoby and Vimahi are four-star true freshmen while classmate Jones is a massive three-star prospect (6-8, 360) who was the last player to sign in the 2019 class and could have a lot of untapped talent.
He was also a standout basketball player at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Quotable: Ryan Day: "I have high hopes for the offensive line, seeing the way they're running around right now.
“Thayer Munford is really looking strong right now and then when you when you kind of roll them all out there we have some guys who have a chance to be really good, and you know they're all going to be kind of battling for spots. We lost four guys right there, but then there's some guys who have some experience who've been in the program a little bit, some other guys who have some playing experience in there, so it's gonna be a great competition, but I think it can be a strength for us. Obviously. the more they play the more they gel in the pre-season and then in September will be important. But a talented group.”