“You get a real sense: there are 700,000 constituents counting on me to do a great job representing them. I’m thrilled they chose me. Now I have to deliver on the promises I made.”
Life after football can look very different for different people. In the case of former Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, that life is now one of public service, as he was just sworn in as the congressional representative for Ohio’s 16th district.
It’s easy to remember Gonzalez’s acrobatics on the football field, namely his catch against Michigan in 2005 which all-but secured an Ohio State victory. Gonzalez was part of a high-caliber trio of receivers, which also featured Ted Ginn, Jr. and Santonio Holmes, and was thrown to by Troy Smith. In his final season in Columbus, Gonzalez had 51 receptions for 734 yards and eight touchdowns before being taken as the 32nd-overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. The receiver spent five seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots but, unfortunately, was hindered by injuries that kept him sidelined during several seasons.
While many of his now-constituents fondly remember Gonzalez’s play in Columbus and perhaps his time in Indianapolis, they certainly recall Gonzalez’s performances in high school in the Cleveland area, when he was a star at Saint Ignatius.
It’s interesting to look back on Gonzalez’s playing career, but it’s also exciting to watch what he has done after football. While at Ohio State, Gonzalez was an Academic All-American, and had alluded to former coach Jim Tressel that public service might be part of his future. After retiring from the NFL, Gonzalez went back to school, earning his MBA from Stanford. Gonzalez, who turned 34 in September, announced his campaign for office in 2018, and received massive donations from the likes of former teammate Peyton Manning and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (the 16th district includes parts of Akron and Cleveland).
As for what Gonzalez’s former teammates are up to now, Ginn is set to line up for the New Orleans Saints in their playoff matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
“What’s best for you and your job might not be the best thing that this team needs and these kids need. That’s always first.”
What is it like to miss out on your dream coaching job? Fine, apparently.
Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa was a candidate for the head coaching post at Bowling Green, but missed out on the role when Scot Loeffler, formerly of Boston College, got the job. Studrawa is a Bowling Green grad and two-year starter on the Falcons’ offensive line. Before coming to Ohio State, Studrawa served as offensive line coach at LSU and, previously, as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Bowling Green. While acknowledging at Rose Bowl media days that he would have wanted the job at his alma mater, Studrawa also stated “They hired a great guy and they’re going to be fine…”
Having coached under Meyer at several points in his career, the fiery assistant would seem a good candidate for a top-spot, further growing Meyer’s already blossoming coaching tree. For instance, both Luke Fickell and Tom Herman, former Meyer assistants at Ohio State, earned double-digit wins this season at their respective programs. Fickell turned around a Cincinnati program to 11 wins and a victory in the Military Bowl over Virginia Tech. And in one of the biggest surprises of the postseason, Herman’s Texas squad dominated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. In just two seasons at the helm, Herman has turned an ailing Texas program around after years of mediocrity.
Studrawa’s offensive lines during his first two seasons as position coach were among the best in college football. The line took a step back this season, but it bears repeating that it lost a unanimous All-American center in Billy Price and moved Michael Jordan, its best remaining player, to a position at which he was weaker. Studrawa’s contract at Ohio State does expire this month, but he is expected to stick around on Ryan Day’s new staff heading into the 2019 season.
“Coach J just told me that we have a lot of people that played defensive line that went over to offensive line and that I looked like I’d have an opportunity over there.”
With the announcement that offensive lineman Michael Jordan will enter the 2019 NFL Draft, the Ohio State offensive line lost its best player for the third-straight season. Unfortunately, there is not a clear lineman to fill the void Jordan leaves come next season. And considering the other pieces and parts the Buckeyes lose on offense next season—including three (or four) receivers, one running back and two other linemen besides Jordan and the starting quarterback—the unit will need to rely on the remaining veteran talent to be successful.
The good news is that the Buckeyes are not starting from scratch when it comes to their offensive line. Thayer Munford, Wyatt Davis and Brandon Bowen have both been starters in the past. While Bowen will be entering his final year of eligibility, Munford and Davis have additional time left to anchor the line. Backups also provide a critical presence, as the new NCAA redshirt rule implemented last year allows for players to play in up to four games without losing eligibility, meaning that linemen can gain experience without losing eligibility.
One player who has potential for serious impact on the line next year is Joshua Alabi, who will play his final season at Ohio State next year. After arriving in Columbus four seasons ago as a high school teammate of Mike Weber at Cass Tech in Detroit, Alabi sat behind a prolific group of defensive linemen, including former and future first round picks. Knowing he would likely not get a shot on defense, Alabi moved over to offense at left tackle, getting minimal playing time over the last two seasons. Most recently, Alabi got his first start at Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, where he got to block for his former high school teammate in Weber’s last game. It’s been a long road for the to-be fifth-year senior, but next year might finally be his shot to claim his spot for good on the line.
STICK TO SPORTS
- This hero is a real life ninja.
- It’s National Bobblehead Day! And here’s a chance to recognize our favorite mascot.
- Also congrats to our favorite blimp?
- Would you have run for these standing-room-only seats?
- This injury may have been the worst of the weekend, but at least the “get well” note was adorable.