Comparing Ohio State's 2018 Offensive Line Roster To Urban Meyer's Previous Buckeyes Teams

By Dan Hope on June 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Isaiah Prince, Billy Price and Pat Elflein

Isaiah Prince, Billy Price and Pat Elflein

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Ohio State’s 2018 roster is loaded with talent, per usual, but how does it compare to the Buckeyes’ previous teams since Urban Meyer has arrived in Columbus?

Here at Eleven Warriors, we’re taking a position-by-position look at how the Buckeyes’ current roster stacks up with Ohio State’s rosters from Meyer’s first six seasons as head coach.

The next installment of the series takes a look at the offensive line.

Both Meyer and Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa raved about their depth at the position this spring, with Meyer expressing that he believes this year’s Buckeyes offensive line is the deepest group they have had since he arrived in Columbus prior to the 2012 season.

"It’s the first time I feel like we can have a solid two-deep in the offensive line where if everybody does what they’re supposed to do this summer, two-deep across the offensive line, that’s not been that way around here," Meyer said after the Buckeyes’ spring game.

By taking a look back at Ohio State’s offensive lines from 2012 to 2017, and comparing them to the roster the Buckeyes have at the position for 2018, we can see whether the numbers back up that sentiment.

Ohio State’s offensive line rosters for every season from 2012 through 2018 are listed below with each player’s year of eligibility, number of recruiting stars (based on 247Sports’ composite rankings) and how many games they had appeared in and started going into each respective season, with analysis to follow on how this year’s group stacks up with the rest.

Note: Players who made position switches to or from non-offensive line positions are only listed for the years that they were offensive linemen for the Buckeyes.

2012

Andrew Norwell, Junior (★★★★) – 24 games, 13 starts
Jack Mewhort, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 23 games, 13 starts
Reid Fragel, Senior (★★★) – 39 games, 9 starts (as TE)
Marcus Hall, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 21 games, 6 starts
Corey Linsley, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 16 games
Antonio Underwood, Sophomore (★★★) – 4 games, 1 start
Darryl Baldwin, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★) – 7 games (as DL)
Chase Farris, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Tommy Brown, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Taylor Decker, Freshman (★★★★)
Kyle Dodson, Freshman (★★★★)
Joey O’Connor, Freshman (★★★★)
Jacoby Boren, Freshman (★★★)
Pat Elflein, Freshman (★★★)
Ivon Blackman, Redshirt Junior (Walk-on) – 4 games
Eric Kramer, Redshirt Sophomore (Walk-on) – 1 game
Ben St. John, Redshirt Sophomore (Walk-on)
Logan Beougher, Redshirt Freshman (Walk-on)

2013

Andrew Norwell, Senior (★★★★) – 36 games, 25 starts
Jack Mewhort, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 35 games, 25 starts
Marcus Hall, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 33 games, 18 starts
Corey Linsley, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 28 games, 12 starts
Darryl Baldwin, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 19 games (12 as OL)
Antonio Underwood, Junior (★★★) – 10 games, 1 start
Taylor Decker, Sophomore (★★★★) – 12 games
Jacoby Boren, Sophomore (★★★) – 2 games
Tommy Brown, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★)
Kyle Dodson, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Pat Elflein, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Evan Lisle, Freshman (★★★★)
Billy Price, Freshman (★★★★)
Eric Kramer, Redshirt Junior (Walk-on) – 13 games
Ivon Blackman, Redshirt Senior (Walk-on) – 5 games
Ben St. John, Redshirt Junior (Walk-on)
Logan Gaskey, Freshman (Walk-on)
Ben Moffitt, Freshman (Walk-on)

2014

Darryl Baldwin, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 31 games (24 as OL)
Taylor Decker, Junior (★★★★) – 26 games, 14 starts
Joel Hale, Senior (★★★) – 30 games, 9 starts (as DT)
Jacoby Boren, Junior (★★★) – 16 games
Pat Elflein, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★) – 14 games, 1 start
Chase Farris, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 14 games (7 as DT), 1 start (1 as DT)
Antonio Underwood, Redshirt Junior (★★★) – 10 games, 1 start
Kyle Dodson, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★) – 3 games
Chad Lindsay, Graduate Transfer (★★★)
Evan Lisle, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Billy Price, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Jamarco Jones, Freshman (★★★★)
Demetrius Knox, Freshman (★★★★)
Kyle Trout, Freshman (★★★★)
Marcelys Jones, Freshman (★★★)
Brady Taylor, Freshman (★★★)
Logan Gaskey, Sophomore (Walk-on) – 1 game
R.J. Morris, Freshman (Walk-on)
Micheil Pruni, Freshman (Walk-on)

2015

Taylor Decker, Senior (★★★★) – 41 games, 29 starts
Jacoby Boren, Senior (★★★) – 31 games, 15 starts
Pat Elflein, Redshirt Junior (★★★) – 29 games, 16 starts
Billy Price, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★) – 15 games, 15 starts
Chase Farris, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 28 games (7 as DT), 1 start (1 as DT)
Jamarco Jones, Sophomore (★★★★) – 10 games
Evan Lisle, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★)
Demetrius Knox, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Kyle Trout, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Brady Taylor, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Isaiah Prince, Freshman (★★★★)
Matthew Burrell, Freshman (★★★★)
Branden Bowen, Freshman (★★★)
Kevin Feder, Freshman (★★★)
Grant Schmidt, Freshman (★★★)
Logan Gaskey, Junior (Walk-on) – 1 game
Aaron Parry, Junior (Walk-on)
Brandon Pahl, Freshman (Walk-on)
Blake Pfenning, Freshman (Walk-on)
Kevin Woidke, Freshman (Walk-on)

2016

Pat Elflein, Redshirt Senior (★★★) – 42 games, 29 starts
Billy Price, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 28 games, 28 starts
Jamarco Jones, Junior (★★★★) – 23 games
Evan Lisle, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 13 games
Demetrius Knox, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★) – 13 games
Isaiah Prince, Sophomore (★★★★) – 13 games
Brady Taylor, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★) – 4 games
Malcolm Pridgeon, Junior (★★★★)
Kyle Trout, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★)
Matthew Burrell, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Branden Bowen, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Kevin Feder, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Michael Jordan, Freshman (★★★★)
Tyler Gerald, Freshman (★★★★)
Gavin Cupp, Freshman (★★★)
Jack Wohlabaugh, Freshman (★★★)
Aaron Parry, Senior (Walk-on) – 11 games
Brandon Pahl, Sophomore (Walk-on)
Blake Pfenning, Sophomore (Walk-on)
Kevin Woidke, Sophomore (Walk-on)
Nathan Brock, Freshman (Walk-on)

2017

Billy Price, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 41 games, 41 starts
Jamarco Jones, Senior (★★★★) – 36 games, 13 starts
Isaiah Prince, Junior (★★★★) – 26 games, 13 starts
Michael Jordan, Sophomore (★★★★) – 13 games, 13 starts
Demetrius Knox, Redshirt Junior (★★★★) – 17 games
Brady Taylor, Redshirt Junior (★★★) – 16 games
Branden Bowen, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★) – 13 games
Matthew Burrell, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★★) – 13 games
Joshua Alabi, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★) – 5 games (as DT)
Malcolm Pridgeon, Redshirt Junior (★★★★)
Kevin Feder, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★)
Gavin Cupp, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Jack Wohlabaugh, Redshirt Freshman (★★★)
Wyatt Davis, Freshman (★★★★★)
Josh Myers, Freshman (★★★★)
Thayer Munford, Freshman (★★★★)
Kevin Woidke, Junior (Walk-on) – 5 games
Brandon Pahl, Junior (Walk-on)
Blake Pfenning, Junior (Walk-on)
Nathan Brock, Sophomore (Walk-on)

2018

Isaiah Prince, Senior (★★★★) – 40 games, 27 starts
Michael Jordan, Junior (★★★★) – 27 games, 27 starts
Demetrius Knox, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 31 games, 8 starts
Branden Bowen, Redshirt Junior (★★★) – 19 games, 6 starts
Brady Taylor, Redshirt Senior (★★★) – 29 games
Malcolm Pridgeon, Redshirt Senior (★★★★) – 14 games
Joshua Alabi, Redshirt Junior (★★★) – 14 games (9 as OL)
Thayer Munford, Sophomore (★★★★) – 12 games
Gavin Cupp, Redshirt Sophomore (★★★)
Wyatt Davis, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★★)
Josh Myers, Redshirt Freshman (★★★★)
Nicholas Petit-Frere, Freshman (★★★★★)
Matthew Jones, Freshman (★★★★)
Max Wray, Freshman (★★★★)
Kevin Woidke, Senior (Walk-on) – 17 games
Brandon Pahl, Senior (Walk-on)
Blake Pfenning, Senior (Walk-on)
Nathan Brock, Junior (Walk-on)
Jack Jamieson, Freshman (Walk-on)

Overview: This year’s Ohio State offensive line doesn’t possess as much starting experience as the Buckeyes had in 2013, 2015 or 2017, all seasons in which the Buckeyes returned four starters up front. This year’s returning offensive linemen have, however, already combined to appear in 203 games for the Buckeyes, giving them more overall experience than any of Meyer’s previous offensive lines in Columbus.

Ohio State enters the season with nine offensive linemen (including eight scholarship players) who have appeared in at least 12 games, the highest number of offensive linemen who have met that criteria going into any of Meyer’s first seven seasons coaching the Buckeyes.

Five of those nine offensive linemen have only seen spot offensive line duty and/or played on special teams (Brady Taylor, Malcolm Pridgeon, Joshua Alabi, Thayer Munford, Kevin Woidke), so the Buckeyes will be going into the new season with at least one new starter up front (Munford is the frontrunner to start at left tackle, while Taylor appears to be the top candidate to start at center).

But even though the Buckeyes only return a pair of offensive linemen who have been full-year starters (Isaiah Prince and Michael Jordan, who have both started the last two seasons) and a pair who have been part-year starters (Branden Bowen, who began last season as the starting right guard, and Demetrius Knox, who replaced Bowen after a season-ending injury), they have a wealth of talent to give them reason to feel good about their depth at the position.

Wyatt Davis and Nicholas Petit-Frere are the first two five-star offensive line recruits that Ohio State has landed since Meyer’s arrival in Columbus, and both will be on the roster this year. The Buckeyes’ offensive line roster also includes eight four-star recruits. Combined, the Buckeyes’ 10 five- and four-star offensive linemen is tied with their totals of four-star offensive linemen from 2016 and 2017.

After Billy Price and Jamarco Jones exhausted their eligibility and Matthew Burrell, Kevin Feder and Jack Wohlabaugh all decided to transfer, Ohio State has 14 scholarship offensive linemen on its roster for 2018, slightly down from its totals from 2016 and 2017, when the Buckeyes had 16 scholarship linemen each season.

With four offensive linemen also set to exhaust their eligibility this upcoming season (Prince, Knox, Taylor and Pridgeon), Ohio State will likely bring in a large offensive line recruiting class in 2019 – the Buckeyes already have three offensive line commitments for that class (Ryan Jacoby, Harry Miller and Doug Nester) – to bring the numbers back up.

For the upcoming season, though, having a couple less scholarship offensive linemen shouldn’t make much of a difference, as the Buckeyes aren’t likely to play many more than 10 offensive linemen barring injuries.

The number that really matters is the Buckeyes’ aforementioned eight scholarship offensive linemen who have played at least 12 games – all of whom are very much in the mix for significant playing time this upcoming season – as the offensive line, perhaps more than any other position, is a position where game experience is crucial.

Ohio State’s best groups of "Slobs" in the Meyer era have been the units that took the field in the 2014 and 2015 season – led by Taylor Decker at left tackle, Price at left guard, Jacoby Boren at center and Pat Elflein at right guard – whose dominant play down the stretch of the 2014 campaign led the way to a national championship.

It’s yet to be seen how this year’s group, after losing two of their best offensive linemen from last season in Price and Jones, will stack up in terms of their ability to dominate the line of scrimmage. But with a multitude of offensive linemen who were both highly recruited and have seen playing time for the Buckeyes, Meyer and Studrawa (who has been Ohio State’s offensive line coach since 2016) seem confident that this year’s offensive line could be one of their best.

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