Morning Conversational: What Does OSU Look For In O-Line Recruits?

Ohio State Buckeyes football Wyatt Davis

Today’s Topic: What Does Ohio State Look For In Offensive Line Recruits?

If you were to take a side-by-side look at the offensive line position in college and professional football today, and compared it to what the position looked like a couple of decades ago, the results might surprise you.

Yes, they’re still the big uglies, but maybe not quite as ugly as they used to be.

“I think when you look at linemen nowadays, all of those guys who were at the [NFL] Combine, they all look like athletes,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said recently. “They don’t look like they used to 20 years ago when they were just the big, heavyset guys. They’re all very athletic nowadays and you have to be a good athlete to be an offensive lineman.

“But again, it also depends on what position they play. Tackles have to be super athletic. The guards can be a little bit bigger and heavier set. So I think it depends on what you’re looking for there, but yeah, offensive linemen are much more athletic than they used to be.”

When Ohio State looks at offensive linemen, there are several categories and body types they look for.

“In terms of recruiting offensive linemen, there’s a lot that comes into it,” Day said.

Recruiting tackles, guards, and centers isn’t just about throwing as many darts on the recruiting board as possible and then finding spots for the ones you land.

Ohio State is much more precise about their targeting procedures.

“There’s certain body types out there,” Day explained. “There are guys who are just tackles. They kind of have those body types. Long levers. They’re athletic, which is what we look for in our tackles.”

When you look at Ohio State’s roster, Day essentially just described redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere, who is manning right tackle at the moment for the Buckeyes.

“Then there’s the swing guys,” Day said. “They can play multiple positions. Usually those guys are in the 6-5 range. They can move inside, they can go outside. Branden Bowen is a good example of somebody like that.”

Another example would be true freshman Ryan Jacoby, who is in that 6-5 range, but moved quickly to guard this spring. He played tackle very well in high school, and could end up there still, but the need right now was inside.

“And then the guards are more the thicker guys,” Day said. “Wyatt Davis is a great example of that. Kind of a road grader in there. He can move a three technique, he can power in there, he can block a nose guard and not get knocked back into the quarterback’s lap.

“And the center is usually more athletic. They’re built lower to the ground. Not tall. Mike Jordan was different. He was an outlier there. Usually the guys like Billy Price and Josh [Myers] are built more lower to the ground, where they can move quickly and get their hands on you.”

6 Responses

  1. That Woody story originated from Minnesota and Bernie Bierman. A bit before Woody’s time. A good story, nevertheless.

  2. They say Woody would walk the fields of Ohio looking for young men plowing the family farm. Not with a tractor, ox, mule, or horse. He was looking for the boy pushing the plow through the soil. He would walk up and ask, “Son, can you point me toward Columbus?” Woody would walk away from young men that pointed with his finger. He was looking for the ones that pulled the plow up out of the soil and pointed with the plow.

    1. I thought that I’d heard every story there was to know about Woody. Not this one, but what a fantastic story it is. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I would look for the guys who have played some basketball. It is amazing when you see a big guy who has quick and light feet rather than just a plodder.

    1. Definitely a second sport helps, Wrestling is a terrific sport for that position, no doubt with evolving O’s OL need smarts and mobility.

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