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Billy Price could be the best center prospect of the last decade

Not a lot of centers get taken in the first round. Price could be one of the rare ones.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“I recently studied Buckeyes senior Billy Price and he’s one of the best center prospects I’ve seen in the past decade.”’s Daniel Jeremiah, via Stephen Pianovich, Land of 10

Ohio State fans are familiar with the skills of offensive lineman Billy Price, and now, after Price won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center and was selected as a first-team All-American, the rest of the nation is as well. The fifth-year senior is preparing for his 55th-straight start as a Buckeye in the Cotton Bowl later this month, but soon after, Price will be a hot commodity at next spring’s NFL Draft as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation.

“He has tremendous upper body torque, quick feet and outstanding awareness,” said Daniel Jeremiah of of the Ohio State prospect, who he considers one of the best center prospects in recent years. Jeremiah went on to say that he gave Price the same rating he did for Nick Mangold prior to the 2006 draft when Mangold was selected in the first round by the New York Jets.

Price followed in the footsteps of Pat Elflein, who moved from guard to center prior to his senior season at Ohio State, won the Rimington Trophy and was ultimately selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Jeremiah acknowledged that Price looks better on his tape from Ohio State than Elflein did a year ago.

Ohio State currently has two starting centers in the NFL: Elflein and Corey Linsley of the Green Bay Packers. Elflein has had an outstanding rookie year with the Vikings, having earned the starting spot back in training camp.

While there is a lot of buzz surrounding Price, there have not been a lot of centers selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Just nine centers have gone in the first round since 2000, including Mangold in 2006. Most recently, the Indianapolis Colts selected Ryan Kelly from Alabama with the 18th-overall pick in 2016.

“Vince Lombardi said winning was the only thing, but that would mean defeat is nothing, which misses the point. Defeat ruins the lives of some coaches, who hate losing more than they enjoy winning.”

-Bill Livingston, The Plain Dealer

Somehow, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ loss to Oklahoma early on in the season doesn’t seem so bad. Urban Meyer and crew managed to put together enough solid wins to overcome it and claw their way back in the conversation for the College Football Playoff. What crushes the souls of Ohio State fans, instead, is the crippling loss to Iowa following the elation of a massive comeback against Penn State; a loss that came late enough in the season to where the Buckeyes could not make a full recovery in the eyes of the committee.

That type of loss--one which has far-reaching effects beyond the game itself--has been rare in its level of excruciation, both under Meyer and for Ohio State in general. Under Meyer, the loss to Iowa is akin to the 2015 defeat at the hands of Michigan State which proved to be a fatal blow to the Buckeyes’ playoff hopes. What is unique about these two losses is how they are singular and defining points in the season. Both were unexpected losses when Ohio State was favored and which single-handedly derailed hopes of a championship. It was just the sixth loss in the Meyer era at Ohio State.

Meyer, however, has worked to train his players not to dwell on these painful losses. “E+R=O,” or “Event + Response = Outcome” is a common mantra among the staff and players. That attitude was evident this season as J.T. Barrett and crew bounced back to defeat Michigan in Ann Arbor in a rivalry game and went on to win the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin. Now, the team has the opportunity to play a “southwestern” Rose Bowl against the Pac-12 champion USC Trojans. While some of the wins this season have been ugly, and the losses even uglier, the Buckeyes have shown a lot of resilience in their ability to bounce back from defeat.

Congrats to all of the 3,721 graduates who received their degrees from The Ohio State University yesterday! Sunday’s autumn commencement was the largest ever at Ohio State as students from 65 different countries received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Sen. Rob Portman and University President Michael Drake spoke to the graduating class during the more than two-hour ceremony.

Among the more than 3,400 students receiving undergraduate degrees were 49 current and former student-athletes. The most recognizable names came from frontrunners on the Ohio State football and men’s basketball teams, including defensive end Sam Hubbard, offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, forward Keita Bates-Diop and forward Jae’Sean Tate. In total, 11 members of the football team, including seven starters, graduated Sunday. Hubbard earned Academic All-American honors this season, and has been an OSU Scholar-Athlete throughout his time with the Buckeyes. Tate graduated with a sports industry degree, and Bates-Diop finished with an economics degree. While Tate has no more eligibility remaining after this season, Bates-Diop can return for one more year with the Buckeyes.

In addition to football and basketball, two members of the women’s tennis team graduated Sunday. This senior class was the winningest class in program history with 102 victories. The unit made the NCAA Tournament four-years running, including a berth in the semi-finals in 2017, and earned consecutive Big Ten titles. Miho Kowase, who won Ohio State’s first NCAA Championship in doubles last year, graduated with a marketing degree, while Fernie Angeles-Paz finished with a finance degree.

Finally, from the men’s volleyball team, Miles Johnson graduated with a degree in economy, development and sustainability. Johnson was the 2016 NCAA Tournament MVP and part of the two-time NCAA Champion men’s volleyball team at Ohio State.

Congrats to all of the graduates, student athlete or otherwise, and best of luck in the future!