Football

Demetrius Knox Fortifying Buckeye Offensive Line

Demetrius Knox Ohio State Football Buckeyes

One summer ago, his fourth year in the Scarlet and Gray, Demetrius Knox lost the battle for right guard with Branden Bowen.

Bowen started the first six games for the Buckeyes before a leg injury ended his season. Knox stepped in for his teammate down the stretch run and finally began living up to the expectations he arrived with.

Knox redshirted as a true freshman, and was then a reserve for his next two seasons. Every year, there were expectations that this would his year. The same thing happened in 2017, but Bowen won the job and once again Knox was left to fill in the dept chart.

Once he was called upon in the middle of the season, however, he was energized, and it showed in his play on the field.

Now in his fifth-and-final season as a Buckeye, Knox’s role goes beyond just being a starter.

“This year I’m having to take over a stronger leadership role,” he said this spring. “I’ve got to be a little more vocal in the room.”

It was a long time coming for Knox, who had opportunities to establish himself in previous seasons. He was beaten out by a freshman Michael Jordan for the left guard job in 2016. He then lost out to a younger player again last year in Branden Bowen. With youth being served on the offensive line, it is never unusual to see an older player leave in order to find some playing time somewhere else.

Knox never did that, however. And because he persevered, the Buckeyes are the better for it.

“I wouldn’t say persevere. We’re all one big family. This whole team,” he said. “So it’s not just someone went down or Bowen went down, it’s my brother went down. So what can I do to the best of my ability to help the rest of the guys? It’s not necessarily, ‘I won the spot, he won the spot.’ It’s ‘what can I do for the team?'”

What Knox did was solidify an offensive line that is always crucial to Ohio State’s power running game.

In his first start, the Buckeyes rushed for 279 yards on the road at Nebraska. The Huskers never stood a chance.

Knox proved that he was capable of doing what so many had been waiting for him to do.

He wasn’t doing it for himself, however.

“For me, I’d have to say the light coming on, it wasn’t ‘I want to win this spot’ or ‘I hope I don’t mess up.’ It’s the guys next to me,” he said. “They’ve got a plan, they’ve got a vision for what they want the team to be like, and I don’t want to let them down. So that was my only mindset.”

 

5 Responses

  1. Long-time O-Zone readers will roll their eyes, but I’ve been a fan of Meech’s since when he was being recruited and he answered my then-10-year-old boy’s question.
    Hope he knocks it out of the park this Fall and gets drafted next year. I’ll be pulling for him (you pull for guards, right? 😉 ) all the way!

    1. Let em roll their eyes. Your word has always been good.

      1. Thanks, James. Gotta love a kid who gave of his time and thought for the O-Zone as a high school senior and gave a thoughtful answer to a kid who looked up to him.

  2. Out of the 3 RG’s we had play for us last year, Knox was the best by far. He has a chance to be All Big 10 and possibly get drafted if he takes his game up a notch in ’18. I think he played better then Jordan at LG. Mike seems to get a pass since he started as a Frosh, but he honestly was not good at times last year and seemed to regress. Im hoping that he becomes a better leader(both he and Knox) and lead this Oline to dominance on a more consistent basis this season. The talent is there, lets see how well they improve. GO BUCKS!

  3. I’ve been waiting for great thing to happen for Demetrius. He’s got terrific focus and he showed down the stretch last year that he’s definitely got all the tools necessary to a great player. A friend of mine told me last year that D had everything an offensive lineman needs to be great, except trusting what he knows and just relaxing and playing the game, having fun. He was too busy chasing perfection, rather than letting the game come to him. If the entire group can get on the same page this line could develop into a pretty ferocious group. With the leadership of Jamarco and Billy gone, chemistry is the units only current limitation. But that chemistry is the key to just how good or bad an offensive line can become, and it’s not limited to just the starters. The depth needs to melt into that culture.

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