Isaiah Prince Looking Forward to 2018 Season As He Takes Younger Players Under His Wing

By James Grega on July 30, 2018 at 10:10 am
Isaiah Prince

In 2016, Isaiah Prince's struggles were well-documented. 

His performances against Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan that season had many wondering if he was the right man to succeed the likes of Darryl Baldwin and Chase Farris at right tackle. Despite the doubts surrounding him, Prince performed admirably – although the rest of the team struggled – in a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. 

Although the team lost, there was momentum for Prince, and he carried that into his junior season. 

The Maryland native was named a third-team All-Big Ten selection for his efforts in 2017, as he established himself as a reliable force on J.T. Barrett's frontside. Returning for his senior campaign this season, Prince is staying at right tackle, and hopes that he can use his roller-coaster experience to help the younger linemen on the squad, much like veterans of the past helped him.

One of the main lessons Prince said he has learned from his experience at Ohio State is to not let outside pressure, from fans or pressure he put on himself, get to him. 

"I feel like once you start letting pressure get to you, you start to get flustered and frustrated and you start making mistakes," Prince said Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days. "I try not to think about it at all and control what I can control. If I control what I can control on the field, then everything else will take care of itself."

After a shaky sophomore season, Prince said he finally felt as though he settled into his role during Ohio State's 31-16 loss to Oklahoma early on in 2017. Despite losing on the scoreboard, Prince recalled a specific play against the Sooners that served as a turning point of sorts for his individual development. 

"That was the only game that I gave up a sack last year. I just thought back. If it was the 2016 season and I gave up a sack, I would have been pouting for weeks," he said. "But I noticed the growth against Oklahoma. I gave up a sack, but I didn't think about it. I didn't get frustrated. I just went back to work and played just as hard. That is when I realized I had grown and matured."

Prince's development from 2016 to 2017 was significant and the towering tackle could be poised to be a high-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL draft if his development stays on the same trajectory. For now, though, he is hoping that his constant improvement can serve as a testimony of sorts to the younger generation of Ohio State linemen. 

Ohio State has a number of young linemen on the roster that are either currently fighting for jobs, or could be asked to play spot reps should an injury occur. Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis, Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere are all underclassmen that figure to contribute significantly either in 2018 or 2019, and Prince said he wants them to know that no matter how hard the early days as a Buckeye might be, hard work and dedication will ultimately get them to where they want to be both on and off the field.

"I have to provide the same example that Jamarco (Jones), Taylor Decker and Chase Farris did for me," he said. "No matter how tough things get, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You may not always see it, but you just have to put your head down and just keep working hard and everything will work out the way you want it to."

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