MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Josh Myers never hid the fact that the decision was already made.
The Ohio State center promised an announcement would be coming after the season, and while he didn’t deliver it quite as quickly as expected, it was still the same one that was always anticipated.
Myers officially confirmed on Friday night that he’s moving on the NFL Draft. Clearly nothing that happened on Monday night at Hard Rock Stadium against Alabama was going to change that as the apex of the Ohio State offense is ready to take the next step even without a national championship on the resumé.
“There are so many things that make Ohio State a great place,” Myers said last week. “I think what separates Ohio State is there are great people at Ohio State. I think there’s great people at a lot of places, but there’s great people at Ohio State who care about you and also will push you in the direction that you need to go to get you to where you need to be in your career. I think that’s a special thing, and I think that the way that the entire university and the coaching staff and everyone inside the facility goes about it is what separates us, in my personal opinion.
“Then on top of that, the culture and the history behind Ohio State football, man, it’s just so special. All of the things that we get to do, the Skull Session during a regular season, and then playing in the Horseshoe, there’s just — I could talk about it forever, to be honest with you.”
Myers will carry those memories with him along with a handful of Big Ten championship rings, and he’s got the physical tools and football intelligence to have a long career at the next level.
But his departure with a year of eligibility left on the table will put Ohio State under pressure to develop another elite anchor for the offense. Lettermen Row is breaking down what all this decision by Josh Myers means for the Buckeyes moving forward.
What Josh Myers meant to Ohio State
There is simply no overstating how important the veteran offensive lineman was to the Buckeyes both on the field as the guy who initiated every play and off the field as a vocal captain and leader of the return-to-play fight. Myers gave impassioned speeches both publicly and privately about how much he was willing to sacrifice to get on the field with the Buckeyes last season when it looked like that opportunity was going to be taken away, and his work ethic in the weight room also helped set the standard for the program.
As a Rimington Trophy finalist, Myers was widely viewed as one of the best at his position in the country. And considering how prolific the offensive attack was yet again for Ohio State on the way to another Big Ten title and a beatdown of Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal, it’s undeniable that Josh Myers is leaving incredibly big shoes to fill with the program.
Options for Buckeyes to take over at center
The Ohio State plan has always been for Harry Miller to slide over and continue the program’s successful tradition of converting guards to center after getting a bit of experience on the interior. Even after some snapping issues when pressed into duty on short notice last month at Michigan State, Miller was still a five-star recruit for a reason and should be ready to take the next step assuming he gets a normal offseason of development instead of the disjointed process that obviously impacted the Buckeyes last year.
Miller will still have to compete for the job, though, and another touted recruit who was tabbed as a future center will be ready for battle. Luke Wypler arrived at Ohio State last year as a four-star recruit, and he’s another interior grinder who is blessed with both the physical and mental tools to handle the complicated demands in the middle. Matthew Jones could also be an option as yet another former recruit who was considered the top-ranked center coming out of high school, though he would seem more likely to stick at guard at this point.
Evaluating impact of losing Josh Myers
Ohio State is losing a critical piece of the offense and a respected leader, so that’s certainly a big deal. But the program has probably recruited the position better than any program in the country over the last few years as it has built something of a dynasty in the Rimington Trophy race. From that perspective, the Buckeyes are probably well positioned to absorb the loss and potentially avoid too much of a drop-off at center heading into next season and the years to come.
Bottom line: Ohio State would have absolutely loved to have Josh Myers back for one last ride, but his departure isn’t likely to cause any major disruptions down the road.