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Old 12-27-17, 08:02 PM
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Lightbulb The freshman Ohio State offensive lineman catching attention in bowl prep


Ohio State Buckeyes

The freshman Ohio State offensive lineman catching attention in bowl prep: Buckeyes football analysis

Updated 3:44 PM; Posted 10:35 AM

By Bill Landis, cleveland.com

DALLAS -- Jamarco Jones is an Ohio State offensive lineman, and those guys stick together. So his answer to a question about which young players have stood out to him during bowl prep wasn't all that surprising.

"Thayer Munford has been having some really good practices on the offensive line," Jones said.

There's was zero chance he was going anywhere other than his own position group to highlight an under-the-radar player that we should be keeping an eye on. He chose Munford, the freshman tackle from Cincinnati.

When it goes beyond Jones, though, that's when it's time to start taking Munford's rise a little more seriously.

The most interesting part of bowl preparations, especially the non-playoff variety, are the young players we wonder about all season but rarely, or never, see. Those guys get extended reps with the extra practices, and are often getting more looks than the starters right up until the point where things switch from skill development to game prep.

Bowl season is a stepping stone for young players. So we ask the old guys every year, who's sticking out?

Munford drew high praise from Jones, receiver Terry McLaurin and running back J.K. Dobbins (technically not an old guy).

"Thayer Munford stands out," Dobbins said. "He's gonna be great. He's strong. He's got the size."

Which young Ohio State players have impressed during bowl prep?

There were other players. We'll get to those in a second, because Munford is important to Ohio State's immediate future, and most may not realize that.
That he's positioned himself as the up-and-coming freshman offensive lineman already is kind of astonishing considering how he came into the program. He was part of an offensive line class in 2017 that included a major five-star prospect from California in guard Wyatt Davis, and an in-state borderline five-star guard in Josh Myers who brought with him tall tales about his prowess in the weight room.

Munford was the late add, the player Ohio State wasn't sure it would have room for, and now the guy among that group best positioned to be a starter next year.

"He's a big, strong kid. He's smart," Jones said. "He just works hard. He doesn't really talk much. You tell him to do something he does it. You can tell he loves going out there playing football. He'll make a mistake, but he'll keep going. He's gonna keep fighting and trying to block somebody.
"That's part of it, and then just being able to listen and be coached. He's very coachable. He has a really good skill set. I think he's going to be a high draft pick at tackle one day. He's a really good football player."
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