The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the Ohio State offensive line? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
Who’s a fresh that hasn’t hit campus yet that should contribute early? Will the speed of Jameson Williams get him on the field early?
— Tony Frederick (@The_Real_TF) April 10, 2019
As impressive as the collection of signees was yet again for Ohio State and for as much as the coaching staff might want to get those freshmen involved, there truthfully isn’t much room for opportunity on a loaded, veteran roster.
Yes, the Buckeyes are excited about Harry Miller, need some depth on the offensive line and are already working to get him up to speed thanks to FaceTime visits to the meeting room. Certainly the explosive athleticism of Jameson Williams makes him a viable option to get on the field in some capacity at wide receiver or H-back. And maybe Steele Chambers has the ability to jump into a wide-open competition for carries as the backup running back.
But honestly, the summer arrival that really matters most to Ohio State is Jonah Jackson. There’s simply no question that he’s the most valuable piece of the puzzle that the Buckeyes didn’t have on hand during these 15 key spring practices, and adding a potential starter when he enrolls at the end of May is hugely significant — even if the buzz for a graduate transfer might not always measure up next to the excitement of a five-star recruit.
“The fact that he’s really a tough, intelligent football player, that was the first thing I liked about [Jackson],” offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said. “Then I watched him in our game block our guys last year — he did a hell of a job.
“I said: Wow, that kid is interested in us? So, we reached out to him. Here’s an intelligent kid who is really tough … and to add a guy like that when we’re losing all that experience and he has three years of experience in the Big Ten, that was a huge bonus.”
It’s also a boost that Ohio State can add an elite young player like Miller along with Jackson to beef up the interior offensive line. It’s a tall order to play early up front in the Big Ten, and it would be understandable if it takes Miller some time to get up to speed.
But Jackson has already been a starter in that conference for a couple years. And while he will still have to nail down all the details in the playbook, get acclimated to the system and develop chemistry with his new teammates, Jackson was coveted by the best programs in the country for a reason. The expectation is that he’ll arrive once he’s done at Rutgers ready to slide into the starting job at left guard. And when Thayer Munford returns from his spring on the shelf due to injury, that will instantly transform a unit that has been forced to patch things together over the last few weeks.
There’s still reason to be excited about the influx of talent on the way from the last recruiting cycle. But when it comes to opportunities to play for guys not already on campus, Jonah Jackson is the one the Buckeyes need the most.
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