During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
Who is your Wild Card to be a megastar for the Buckeyes this year? A player not getting a ton of attention that could be one of the biggest contributors on the roster.
— Jared Duncan (@buckeyefan686) March 14, 2018
Because this question was so good, I split it into two parts. Our answer Wednesday focused on the defense, where I pegged safety Isaiah Pryor as an emerging star for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will have no shortage of playmakers on offense, and it’s a tougher to find players who haven’t been given much attention. But there’s still one player who was under the radar in 2017 who I’m expecting to have an impressive season this fall.
Tackle Thayer Munford came to Ohio State as one of the lowest-rated members of the Class of 2017. (Of course, it’s worth noting that group is the best pound-for-pound recruiting class in the history of recruiting rankings.) Of Ohio State’s 21 signees, 19 ranked in the top 300 of the 247Sports composite. Munford came in at No. 285 nationally.
He didn’t get a ton of attention as a freshman, which makes sense given how rarely tackles play meaningful snaps as college rookies. But Munford cracked the two-deep by passing older players, and his big wake-up call came when Isaiah Prince had to miss some time in the Michigan game due to injury. Ohio State responded by inserting a first-year player at right tackle in the most important game of the season.
Munford continued to impress his teammates with increased reps in bowl practice, and defensive end Sam Hubbard raved about him during Cotton Bowl interviews.
“Thayer Munford is going to be special,” Hubbard said when asked about young players who had caught his eye. “He’s an awesome player already as a true freshman. He’s going to play very soon and play for a long time.
“I’ve been impressed with him since camp. He’s a talented player and a great kid. All the hype he’s getting in bowl season, I’m wondering why it took so long.”
It’s one thing to play well relative to expectations, but another to play well compared to anyone. It sounds like Munford is checking off that box, too. After the first spring practice, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Munford is locked in at right tackle after Prince’s move to left tackle.
“The other guy that had an excellent offseason, penciled in at right tackle, is Thayer Munford,” Meyer said. “We had our champions dinner and [strength] Coach Mickey [Marotti] gave a lot of awards to Thayer Munford. Great story. Talented guy.”
Words are one thing, but actions are another. And in 2017 and 2018 there have been signs from the Ohio State coaching staff that they believe Munford is the real deal.
Read more answers to questions about the Ohio State Buckeyes here.
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