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Football: Michael Jordan could continue offensive line trend

Ohio State senior offensive lineman Billy Price (54) talks to linemen Michael Jordan (73) and Jamarco Jones (74) prior to a play in the second quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa took no time in changing the outlook of his new unit when he was hired prior to the start of the 2016 season.

After switching the most experienced guard to the center position in each of his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, Studrawa could be in a similar position with junior guard Michael Jordan heading into 2018. The third-year starter at left guard was taking snaps for the Buckeyes as a part of the second-team offensive line during fall practice.

The decision to play a guard at center has become something of a trend for Studrawa.

Without an obvious answer to fill the center position in 2016, Studrawa moved guard Pat Elflein to the middle.The Pickerington, Ohio native ended up thriving, winning the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football and taking home the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year Award in the Big Ten.

Studrawa did not stop there. After Elflein departed to the NFL, the second-year offensive line coach made the switch again, this time with fifth-year senior guard Billy Price. The outcome was the same. Price won the Rimington Trophy and was named a first-team All-American at center in 2017.

Having watched both Elflein and Price move from guard to the starting center, now fifth-year center Brady Taylor seemed to be in the position to seamlessly transition into the starting role as Ohio State’s first true center since Jacoby Boren in 2015.

Despite being recruited as a three-star offensive tackle in the 2014 class, Taylor has played in 29 games for the Buckeyes, recording 55 snaps against UNLV and 41 snaps against Illinois last season.

As the only true freshman to start during the 2016 season, Jordan was named as a Freshman All-American in 2016 and first-team All-Big Ten team member after the 2017 season.

However, the move for Jordan could be because of something not related to the center position at all. With the main objective being to get the best five offensive lineman on the field at one time, Jordan, senior tackle Isaiah Prince and redshirt senior Demetrius Knox seem to be locks on the line. Also, after playing in 12 of 14 games last season, sophomore Thayer Munford seems to be in a good position to take a starting tackle spot.

With four spots filled on the line, that leaves one: center or, possibly, left guard. Studrawa has linemen with experience to fill those spots, with junior Branden Bowen coming off of a leg injury, and redshirt senior Malcolm Pridgeon, who is in in his third season with the program.

When it comes down to it, the final spot on the offensive line could come down to a simple question: who is the best lineman between Bowen, Pridgeon and Taylor?

If it is Pridgeon or Bowen that takes the final spot on the line and Jordan moves to center for his junior season, Studrawa can be confident that it will work out just fine. He has the track record to prove it.

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