Buckeye Football Freshman Focus: Offensive Lineman Thayer Munford

Thayer Munford LOI Ohio State Football

Thayer Munford (6-6 325) is from Cincinnati, Ohio, but played his senior season at Massillon Washington. He was ranked the No. 28 offensive tackle in the nation and committed to the Buckeyes over offers from Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Minnesota, Maryland, Louisville, and Bowling Green.

Interestingly, during his recruitment he had a visit from Minnesota offensive line coach Ed Warinner on the same day he had a visit from Urban Meyer, Greg Studrawa, and Kevin Wilson. Let’s hope the scheduling didn’t make for any awkwardness.

He missed most of his senior season due to transfer rules, but was named Third-Team All-State as a sophomore and junior for Cincinnati LaSalle. LaSalle won state titles in each of Munford’s final two seasons there.

Munford has tackle size, but he played all over on the offensive line in high school. Sometimes where he lined up on a particular play was a pretty good indicator of where the play would be going. If a tough yard was needed, it was going to be gained behind Munford.

What to Like

Well, Thayer Munford is big and strong, so once he locks onto a defender he can put him away with emphasis. For instance, here is a six-second block while at left tackle. Not only does he take the defender away from the play, he almost takes him out to the parking lot.

So there is definitely an aggression that is good to see. As a run blocker, he can basically shut down the momentum of an entire defensive line. At least in high school he could. The second and third clips below show a couple of down blocks that are basically like throwing a wedge under a door. No matter how much the defensive line pushed the door, it wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Munford also has no problem shooting into the second level and looking for work. He then brings that same immovability to the linebackers or defensive linemen chasing the play.

As a pass blocker, Munford is obviously a massive dude to have to get around. Playing both guard and tackle, there are times where he pass blocks more with his arms and hands than feet because the pass-rush threat isn’t necessarily there.

Even when he is pass blocking, however, he looks to finish. Now, these are just highlights, so we don’t know how common this is. The good news for the Buckeyes, however, is that he appears to have the proper demeanor to succeed up front.

The Potential

Munford was ranked as a tackle because he’s tall, but whether he ends up there is still up in the air. He will go wherever he is needed and where he shows the most promise. The good news is that he has the experience with both guard and tackle, so he could bring some versatility.

In terms of potential, there is certainly a lot to like. He is already strong and knows how to use his strength to protect the quarterback. The stuff that he is going to learn over the next four-to-five years is going to make him a completely different player than he is today.

While there is still plenty of growth that needs to occur as a pass blocker, the overall ability is there. He is an active blocker who is athletic enough to get to his spot in order to make a play happen. His coaches ask a lot of him, and gets where he needs to be.

The Expectations

Urban Meyer is never going to say no to an offensive lineman that can help, whether he’s a freshman or walk-on or graduate transfer. Expecting a true freshman to come in and get into the two deep, however, is never a wise move.

Munford simply hasn’t played a lot of football since 2015, so there’s going to be an adjustment period there that may hold him back this season. The Buckeyes would appear to have four tackles they are liking, and perhaps a fifth in Kevin Feder. Munford is probably the only tackle among the freshman class, so he’ll get a good look at camp.

He will be competing for the No. 4 tackle spot, which is currently being battled for by a former defensive lineman in Joshua Alabi, and a raw prospect who hasn’t been very healthy during his career in Feder. Perhaps freshman Josh Myers will get involved here as well.

The Bottom Line

Thayer Munford is big and moves well enough. Mickey Marotti will get the most out of him in the weight room, so that leaves the rest up to Greg Studrawa. Munford has probably been starving for football, so don’t be too surprised if he eats pretty well during camp. All they’re going to ask of him is to go full speed, which is probably what he will do best. At least until camp overwhelms him and he needs to sort of reboot his system.