Today’s Topic: What Does the Addition of Jonah Jackson Mean for OSU?
Ryan Day’s first two months of living the good life continued on Monday as Rutgers graduate transfer offensive lineman Jonah Jackson announced his commitment to Ohio State.
It was welcome news for a head coach who had been reaching out to several different graduate transfer possibilities on the offensive line. Jackson was the first on the scene and with his commitment he likely ended any needs for further options.
Jackson was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection last season for Rutgers. If you go back and watch last year’s game against Ohio State on YouTube or your DVR, you’ll see an interior lineman who held his own in run blocking and pass protection against everyone the Buckeyes threw at him.
If he can hold up against Ohio State, then he should be just fine against the rest of the Big Ten.
In Jonah Jackson, the Buckeyes are getting an experienced starter — though last year was his only season as a full-time starter. Those 11 starts came at right guard. He opened the 2017 season as the starter at center, and made five starts between guard and center, but missed a large chunk of the season due to injury.
Ohio State is replacing all three of their interior linemen, but they like what they have in Josh Myers at center. They are still looking for a backup, however, and perhaps they just had some of that tension eased with the addition of Jackson. Even though he is projected to be a guard, if he can step in — or slide over — as Pat Elflein and Billy Price both did when needed, then that makes this entire offensive line more capable of handling the unexpected.
If Jackson can come in and win a job, then he automatically makes the offensive line better. He also makes it deeper. If he wins one guard spot and Wyatt Davis wins the other, does that allow Branden Bowen to compete for a starting job at tackle? Or does it make him the utility guy who can play outside or inside?
Whoever doesn’t win the right tackle job between Nicholas Petit-Frere and Joshua Alabi — or possibly Bowen — would likely be the No. 3 tackle on the team. Coaches want a quality backup at each position and with versatile linemen like Bowen and Jackson, it gives offensive line coach Greg Studrawa several different options regardless of who gets injured.
The fact that Jackson was voted a captain by his teammates last season is also a positive for this offensive line. He is a leader in a unit that needs leadership. Plus, you have a guy who is hungry to win. This is an offensive lineman who has experienced just 11 wins in his career, and four of them came when he was redshirting as a true freshman.
Of those 11 wins, Jackson played in just four of them. Three of those games came against FCS teams and the fourth was New Mexico. You can understand his desire to spend his fifth-and-final season of college football at a winner, while also enhancing his prospects with the NFL.
If you watch him on the field, you will see that Jackson is a finisher on the offensive line, and now he’ll get to finish his career with a few more wins to boot.