Taking An In-Depth Look At Ohio State's Battle For Center

By Derrick Webb on August 25, 2018 at 5:30 pm
Ohio State has been giving Brady Taylor, Michael Jordan and Josh Myers reps at center.
Brady Taylor

The competition to start at center has been one of Ohio State's fiercest position battles leading up to the season. After losing Rimington Trophy winner Billy Price to graduation, the Buckeyes turned their attention to a trio of offensive linemen who could potentially take his place.

However, the team still hasn't officially named a starter with its season opener against Oregon State just one week away.

In his letter to fans and media last week, acting head coach Ryan Day said, "Brady Taylor, Michael Jordan and Josh Myers have all been taking snaps at center."

And that was the extent of his comments on the Buckeyes' future starting center.

As such, we take a look at Taylor, Jordan and Myers and reasons why each should and shouldn't line up at center on Sept. 1.

Brady Taylor, Redshirt Senior

While Taylor has never started a game while at Ohio State, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound senior has seen plenty of playing time in his collegiate career.

He's a Columbus native, having attended Bishop Ready High School and grown up an Ohio State fan. Being one of only eight fifth-year seniors on the team, Taylor is living a lifelong dream of his each Saturday. 

Brady Taylor

  • One of eight fifth-year seniors
  • Recorded 41 snaps against Illinois last year, the most in his career during Big Ten play
  • Saw a career-high 55 snaps against UNLV in 2017
  • Former first-team All-Ohio selection at Bishop Ready High School

Overall, he's played in 29 games for the Buckeyes, including 13 of 14 last season. 

Earlier this year, Taylor said his goal is "to be the best center in the nation. Being behind (Pat Elfein and Price) the last two years, that is definitely a goal of mine and I think I can accomplish it.”

Why Taylor should start at center: For the past two years, Taylor has worked directly behind two Rimington Trophy winners in Elfein and Price. He's had a firsthand look at what it takes to get to the level those two played at, and they gave him two of the best practice partners any athlete could ask for. In his own right, Taylor has set high personal standards. He's the perfect candidate for providing a smooth transition and brings experience to a position that Urban Meyer has placed extreme value on.

Why Taylor shouldn't start at center: The very fact that Ohio State's coaching staff has debated on who will start at center should raise a red flag. Taylor seems like the obvious choice after taking every one of his career reps at this position. So why throw other names into the mix in the first place? There's also a high bar to meet, one that Elfein and Price have met. Having never made a start, can Taylor handle the pressure to fill big shoes?

Michael Jordan, Junior

Jordan, a true junior, has started every game in the past two years at left guard and is expected to receive recognition for being one of the best offensive linemen in the country.

In 2016, he became the first true freshman to start on the offensive line since Orlando Pace in 1994 and one of six Buckeyes to start a season opener as a true freshman.

He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2017 and was named a "game champion" by Ohio State's coaching staff a whopping 11 times.

Michael Jordan

  • Has started 27 consecutive games over his first two years
  • Was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore
  • In 2016, became the first true freshman to start on offensive line since Orlando Pace in 1994
  • Named "game champion" by coaching staff 11 times in 2017

Correlating experience and Meyer's thoughts on the center position, it's important to note the head coach's comments earlier this spring: "Center is every bit important as quarterback. There’s a lot of pressure on that one.”

Judging by those thoughts alone, Jordan seems to be a great fit.

Why Jordan should start at center: Speaking in terms of size alone, Jordan would give the Buckeyes a unique characteristic. How many other programs can you count on one hand that boast of a 6-foot-7, 312-pound center? Elfein and Price were guards before they made the step over to center, so that also works in Jordan's favor. Jordan has, by far, the most experience on the Buckeyes' offensive line among the potential starters at center. There's no better position for a experienced veteran to be in.

Why Jordan shouldn't start at center: You don't fix what's not broken and at guard, Jordan was one of the best guards in the country last year. With Jordan at guard, the Buckeyes have led the Big Ten in rushing in each of the past two years — 243.2 yards per game in 2017 and 245.2 yards per game in 2016. Also, this late in the process, a switch could have more negative ramifications than positive. While Jordan has been receiving reps at center, his main focus has continued to stay at guard.

Josh Myers, Redshirt Freshman

Coming to Columbus as a four-start recruit out of Miamisburg, Ohio, Myers immediately made a splash — and a big one, considering his 6-foot-5, 308-pound frame.

He was the No. 1-rated player in the state of Ohio and the No. 3-rated guard, according to Scout.com, and earned U.S. Army All-American honors at Miamisburg High School.

Josh Myers

  • Was a unanimous four-star recruit out of Miamisburg High School, where he was a U.S. Army All-American
  • Was the No. 1-rated player in the state and No. 2-rated guard in the nation as a senior, according to 247Sports
  • Helped his high school alma mater compile a 34-12 overall record and clinch four state playoff appearances

After being redshirted as a true freshman, Myers' name has been continuously thrown into the hat when it comes to Ohio State's next starting center.

Following spring practice, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa commented on Myers' progression, saying, "Josh Myers really the last two weeks was outstanding. Struggled the first two, but last two weeks, including in the spring game, he was outstanding."

Why Myers should start at center: Stability in college football is a godsend, especially when you consider early entries into the NFL Draft and injuries. If Myers starts now, the Buckeyes' next great center could be set in stone for as many as four years. It's also important to note Myers' seemingly rapid progression. He's been labeled as a fast learner who understands his snap consistency and the Buckeyes' offense.

Why Myers shouldn't start at center: With Taylor or Jordan, the Buckeyes, for the most part, know what they're going to get. With Myers, the unknown comes into play. Asking a freshman who's never played a snap of collegiate football in a meaningful situation could backfire, especially when you're lined up against Oregon State in front of nearly 105,000 screaming fans. 

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