[This is the 21st in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]
Max Wray came to Ohio State from Franklin High School in Franklin, Tennessee. He was ranked the No. 9 offensive tackle in the 2018 recruiting class and the No. 121 player overall. Wray was also ranked the No. 3 player in the state. He signed with the Buckeyes over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas, USC, and Colorado State.
Max Wray enrolled early for the Buckeyes and went through winter conditioning and spring football last year. It provided him a glimpse of what it takes to get on the field at Ohio State.
“Everyone is so strong and so fast,” Wray said last spring. “The difference between high school and college is in high school you might be playing somebody who is 18 at the oldest. Here you’re playing guys who are 22-23 and have four years of a college weight program under their belt. So it’s just the strength and then also mental toughness. Everyone is at a different level at this point. So coming in early and having to play the most physical position on the field, it’s tough to do.”
Due to inexperience, veterans in front of him, and injuries, Wray did not see the field in 2018 and enters the 2019 season as a redshirt freshman.
So Now What
The Buckeyes are looking for a new right tackle, but Wray is just one of a number of candidates vying to fill out the starting five. He is also the least experienced, which will force him to work his way up from the back of the line.
Wray has tackle size at 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds and has continued to work on getting stronger. The names ahead of him, however, are much more likely to see time simply because they’ve done it before.
Fifth-year senior Josh Alabi has played in plenty of games over the past two seasons and has stepped in at a moment’s notice whenever a tackle has gone down. Fifth-year senior Branden Bowen has done the same at guard and has starting experience. Redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere played in three games last year and was the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. He is seen by most as the future, and may end up being the present as well.
It isn’t unusual for an offensive lineman to not see much playing time until their third or four year on campus, especially at a place like Ohio State. This spring will be an opportunity for Max Wray to show that he is ready now for whatever his coaches put in front of him.