One month ago, the competition at right guard for the Ohio State Buckeyes stood at seven names.
Redshirt juniors Malcolm Pridgeon and Demetrius Knox, redshirt sophomores Matt Burrell and Branden Bowen, and true freshmen Wyatt Davis, Thayer Munford, and Josh Myers were the seven candidates that the Buckeyes opened camp with.
That number quickly became four, as Munford stayed at tackle, and Myers and Davis weren’t quite ready to compete for the starting spot.
Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson revealed the three names that were now getting the last looks before a decision has to be made.
“Matt Burrell is in the mix,” he said. “We’ve had Branden Bowen, our offensive tackle, has played some over there and has looked good. And Malcolm Pridgeon. Those three guys.”
Burrell left the spring as the No. 1 right guard following a terrific close to camp. Now, it has been Bowen and Pridgeon who are closing late.
Matt Burrell played in every game last season, seeing extensive time on the offensive line against Bowling Green, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland. Malcolm Pridgeon came to Ohio State as a heralded junior college transfer, but a knee injury cost him his season in 2016. Branden Bowen played in all 13 games last season as the team’s No. 3 offensive tackle. He also saw quite a bit of playing time against Bowling Green, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Maryland.
Speaking with the media four weeks ago, Ohio State center Billy Price didn’t know who would win the job, but did have confidence in Burrell if he ends up being the guy.
“I just know if I play next to him, we’re going to be okay,” he said.
There is still work to be done, however. The coaches want to see somebody emerge and take over, but they can’t wait too much longer before making a decision. Kickoff is just a week away, after all.
“I think we’ll see how the week of practice goes, if one guy goes the distance, or if it’s a little bit of a committee right now,” Wilson said. “But the position has come on strong. The receiver group and the offensive line group have significantly improved this camp, and the offense has had a good go.”