In a day that was filled with plenty of great news for the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday, center Michael Jordan foregoing his final year of eligibility and declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft was one of the couple low spots of the day.
It was not an easy decision, but the right one for sure. Thank you everyone for your support! pic.twitter.com/0qmB7q1iuw
— Michael Jordan (@BigMikeJ73) January 4, 2019
With Jordan’s departure, head coach Ryan Day is now tasked with having to replace four of his five offensive linemen from this past season, including all three interior linemen.1 With that said, Ohio State is used to having to replace their starting center, with Pat Elflein, Billy Price, and now Jordan deciding to take their talents to the next level in back-to-back-to-back years.
Even though he had remaining eligibility, Jordan had plenty of experience. He is the first Ohio State offensive linemen to leave for the NFL after just three years as a Buckeye since Orlando Pace in 1997. It’s not a coincidence that he was also the first offensive lineman to start as a true freshman since Pace did so 23 years ago. After starting every game during his three-year career in Columbus, Jordan can only hope that he has as much success at the next level as Pace did. If so, he’s in for a very, very good and long career in the NFL. the All-American believes he has the experience and the skill to be successful at the next level.
“I think I did pretty well this season. There’s always room for improvement, continuously working on yourself. One thing I’ve been taught since I was a kid, constant improvement on yourself. I’ve played pretty well, but there are definitely things I could fix if I look back on the season,” he said prior to the Rose Bowl.
“Playing at center definitely helps at guard or any position you play on the offensive line. First, you have to know everyone’s assignments. I guess if I were to play guard next year, it would be more my body reacting to things instead of me thinking about things. … I got two years at guard, so I think anything I do coming back another year is just to build upon that, start where I left off, continue to build. It will only add value to me as a player. I could be useful to some coaches in the NFL.”
Although he is expected to move back to guard in the NFL, Jordan is the third-best center on Mel Kiper’s Big Board. Whether he chooses to be a center or guard at the next level, he will be one of the top prospects at both respective positions in the upcoming draft. The 6-foot-7, 312-pound linemen will likely be a mid-round pick in April.
Redshirt freshman Josh Myers is the favorite to replace Jordan at center in 2019. In fact, Myers would have likely been the starting center next center even if Jordan returned. Day said prior to the Rose Bowl that they would have moved Jordan back to guard — where he spent his first two years as a Buckeye — if he decided to return for his senior season.
With Myers at center, redshirt freshman Wyatt Davis and senior Brandon Bowen are like the favorites to start at guard. Bowen was a starter in 2017 before a leg injury in Week 6, which caused him to miss the rest of that season and most of the 2018 season. He practiced in the latter part of the 2018 season and will look to pick up where he left off in 2019.
Without Jordan, Ohio State’s offensive line will not only be young but will be inexperienced as well, which makes the guard-turned-center’s departure hurt just a little more. With that said, the Buckeyes always seem to have a solid offensive line, no matter who is on the field. They will look reciprocate that in 2019.
- Malcolm Pridgeon, Demetrius Knox and Isaiah Prince were all seniors. [↩]