Both senior center Pat Elflein and junior guard Billy Price made substantial contributions to the Ohio State football team last season. The duo of offensive lineman are being recognized for their stellar play by being named to the Outland Trophy watch list. The Outland Trophy is given to the best interior lineman each year, and is presented by the Football Writers Association of America.
Elflein has spent the last few seasons at guard, finding great success and earning the title of all-Big Ten twice. This season, the Pickerington, Ohio native is shifting over to center to fill the hole left by the outgoing Jacoby Boren.
The established guard-turned-center was also named to the Rimington Award watch list earlier this week, given each year to the top center in the NCAA.
The 2015 “Iron Buckeye” winner — given to six OSU players twice each year for their leadership, dedication to training and toughness — Elflein surprised many after passing up on declaring for the 2016 NFL draft.
Price started all 15 games for the Buckeyes during the national championship run in 2014. A combination of raw power and athleticism have propelled the former high school defensive lineman into a vital role in Urban Meyer’s offense.
Price will look to continue his success at guard in the upcoming season, after being a large factor in helping the Scarlet and Gray earn an average of 245 yards per game rushing last year.
Regarded as one of the strongest men on the team, the former freshman All-American has been improving ever since his first year with the team and could breakout as the best guard in the nation.
Elflein and Price join four other Buckeyes on preseason award watch lists. Redshirt junior quarterback JT Barrett is on the Maxwell watch list, while junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan and redshirt junior defensive Tyquan Lewis are on the Bednarik and Nagurski Award watch list.
Senior punter Cameron Johnston is also creating buzz this offseason after being named to the Ray Guy Award watch list, given to the nation’s top punter.
OSU is set to open the 2016 season on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green. Kickoff is scheduled for noon at Ohio Stadium.