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Column: Thayer Munford represents everything the ‘Block O’ jersey tradition

Following in the footsteps of Jonathon Cooper, Munford becomes the second recipient of the iconic jersey.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you know Ohio State, you know the Block O. It’s the university’s official logo, it is the letter our arms form when we spell out “O-H!”, and it is the name of the official student section of Ohio State football. However, it goes a lot deeper than that.

Starting last year, the football Buckeyes decided to present one player each year with the No. 0 jersey (Block O), in order to pay tribute to former defensive tackle Bill Willis. The Buckeye legend broke professional football’s color barrier in 1946, he was a three time All-American at OSU, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after his career ended.

Jonathon Cooper was, fittingly, the first ever recipient of this jersey. He was a two-time captain, hard worker, and did his best on and off the field. Personally, he is one of my favorite players in recent years, just because of the resiliency and dedication he had shown. He represented the qualities that Willis demonstrated, and was, therefore, given the inaugural honor.

This season, super-senior Thayer Munford was selected as the second recipient of the Block O jersey. Since he plays on the O-Line, he is prohibited from wearing it, so he will instead have a special patch on his jersey while continuing to rock his familiar No. 75. I love this selection (you already know that from me rambling about him being selected as a captain in my last article) for so many reasons.

First off, let’s acknowledge the fact that Munford could be playing in his first NFL game next week. However, he chose to stay and get his degree in Sports Industry. This decision shows that he is a man of his word, having long ago promised his mom that he would graduate, and he did just that by earning his degree earlier this month. He is the first person in his family to graduate college, which is another huge accomplishment in itself.

Munford is clearly looked up to by his teammates, because he received the most votes of any player on the team and was selected as one of the six captains for this year’s Buckeyes. This — I bet — is partially a result of his selflessness. After being an All-American as a left tackle last season, Munford voluntarily moved to left guard to allow Dawand Jones to slide into one of the tackle spots; just another one of those “Block O qualities” that Ohio State loves!

The first-time captain is extremely experienced, being a three-year starter, and he has played a critical role in the success of OSU’s past few running backs, specifically J.K. Dobbins (pray for a speedy recovery — he just tore his ACL in the Ravens’ final preseason game). You can look up his stats and accomplishments on your own, but just know that Munford is one of the best offensive lineman in the country.

After receiving the Block O, Munford noted how much he loves this university and what an honor it is to wear the jersey (or patch, in his case). Ryan Day had high praise for Munford as well, linking him to what Block O stands for, saying, “It represents everything that is important to us – fighting to be elite in all that we do. It’s also about accountability and a blue-collar personality. When I think of Thayer Munford, that’s what comes to mind.”

As Munford leads a line protecting first-time starter C.J. Stroud, starting this Thursday, keep an eye out for the special patch on his jersey. I think we can all agree that Munford deserves this special honor, and I am sure that he will make the Block O legacy proud.