Jonah Jackson came to Ohio State as a graduate transfer from Rutgers. He didn’t arrive on the OSU campus until the summer, but soon after his arrival he was running with the first team and before long became a team leader.
His ability to integrate into the offensive line room spoke volumes of both Jackson and the rest of the linemen who welcomed him in, knowing that he had designs on somebody’s job.
The foundation that welcomed him in remains, which is good news when it comes to finding and developing a replacement. Just as Jackson did a year ago, his replacement won’t have to do it alone. He will have help on both sides of him every step of the way.
But when it does come to replacing Jackson on the field, the next left guard will have big shoes to fill. Jackson routinely led the team in knockdowns and displayed a tenacity and violence that helped set the tone for the entire offensive line.
Left guard is the only spot on the Ohio State interior offensive line where a new starter must be found. This means that every interior lineman who isn’t already a starter will essentially be competing for the spot.
Rising sophomore Harry Miller has already earned all kinds of praise from Ryan Day to Greg Studrawa to Josh Myers. None of them have ever seen such a grasp of center for such a young player. There is no need to move Myers from his center spot, so Miller’s first starting role for the Buckeyes could come at left guard.
Gavin Cupp will be a fifth-year senior and has repped everywhere on the interior. He was injured down the stretch this past season, so that may impact him heading into the spring as the Buckeyes begin to shake things out on the offensive line. Matthew Jones also missed most of the last half of the 2019 season, but he is still a very promising option.
Enokk Vimahi played in three games this past season as a true freshman, so he has both gained valuable experience and also maintained his redshirt. He will enter spring as an inexperienced, but athletic option who learns quickly. Classmate Ryan Jacoby also redshirted in 2019 and will be involved in the competition.
If there are any injuries, expect them to be dealt with cautiously. There is no need to push anybody past any kind of limit in the spring. This is also the time for offseason surgeries, so any kind of absence can alter spring plans in a number of ways.
If everyone is good to go, the spring could see a battle of recruiting achievement versus veteran presence.
Gavin Cupp is the small-school Ohio product who repped with the ones for most of last spring and knows how to do everything. Harry Miller and Matthew Jones were two of the top centers in their respective recruiting classes and may not be denied much longer.
Enokk Vimahi and Ryan Jacoby will both get an opportunity to belong, but they are more likely to be providing depth than fighting for a starting spot.
If everything that has been said about Harry Miller is to be believed — or even half of it, then there’s a pretty good chance that he will be in the starting lineup at some point next season.
Miller may not be with the ones immediately, but it feels like just a matter of time until he is there and excelling.
Depending on the health of both Gavin Cupp and Matthew Jones, they could both get some time with the ones throughout the season and Greg Studrawa is confident in either one of them if they are called upon.
When it comes to potential, however, it is Miller and everyone else. It’s just up to him to realize that potential sooner rather than later.