Welcome to the first edition of the Class-In-Review for the class of 2023. We have just completed looking at the class of 2022, so it’s time to take an even deeper look at the future by jumping into the class of 2023 (typing that continues to make me feel old).
Today, we are going to be taking a look at one of the best players in the state of Ohio, who just so happens to also be committed to the Buckeyes, Joshua Padilla. Padilla can play multiple positions on the offensive line, but many believe he will be starting his career at guard or center in Columbus.
Joshua Padilla - Offensive Line - Wayne HS (Dayton), Ohio- 6-foot-4 - 265 lbs
Wayne High School has been good to the Buckeyes, giving them some of their best talent over the years and Padilla is just the latest in the long line of Wayne Warriors to play their college ball in Columbus. It’s always beneficial to have elite schools in the area that continue to churn out highly rated and talented players.
So where do we begin with Padilla? I was immediately taken aback by the aggressive nature of his run blocking technique. He is very far along in that aspect of his game and looks to be a potential road-grader in the Buckeye offense. His center of gravity is very sturdy and he sets his feet in the ground like a pair of pillars buried in the earth; once they get set the only way they are moving is if he chooses to move them.
Padilla has very good quick feet in run blocking and looks like he could play very well in any blocking scheme, but very excel in zone run blocking. Zone run blocking involves the center, guard, tackle, and tight end working in tandem with each other to block a specific area; with importance placed on double-teaming the defensive linemen who are lined up on the line of scrimmage.
He can move quickly in the pulling game and gets off of the line quickly to get those double-teams efficiently in place. Once the initial double team is in place, then one of the two linemen will move on to the second level and attack the linebackers. Padilla has the quickness and agility to reach those linebackers before they can get to the ball carrier.
Padilla also appears to have heavy hands. From the film, it appears that once he has his defender locked up, it is an absolute chore to get free of his grasp. He drives his feet very well and seems to have a good handle on leverage techniques and more advanced blocking methods.
Padilla has a very good base of knowledge for new offensive line coach Josh Frye to work with. I can see Padilla becoming an elite run blocker at the college level whether at center or guard. If I had to project right now, I believe Josh will be an impact player at either of those positions as a multi-year starter.
However, that is not set in stone as he could not yet be done growing; if he gets even taller and adds some more bulk to his frame, then there is absolutely a shot that he could have a chance to move outside to tackle. If that were to happen, there would be a strong argument that he is one of the top tackles in Ohio.
Back to the footwork, in the pass-blocking game, Padilla has a quick kick-out step as well, which really helps him gain distance from the line of scrimmage and opens up his stance to get a solid base.
He has good technique in keeping the defender in front of him and not getting lost in pass rush maneuvers. He is not easily tossed aside in a power-rush and is quick enough to make up ground if he is beaten for a moment by a rip or swim technique. From the film, in cases when the defender does get a jump on him, Padilla seems to be able to recover and get back into a powerful stance and regain his leverage. If he continues to grow, with how good his foot speed and footwork is, he may just have a shot to play tackle down the road.
After studying Padilla’s film, I can see why Ohio State did not wait before accepting his commitment, he is absolutely one of the best linemen that I have seen on tape and maybe a top two or three lineman in the state of Ohio.
The great news for Buckeye fans is that the other best lineman in the state is also coming to Columbus in Luke Montgomery. Two of the best lineman in the class both being from Ohio is huge for the Buckeyes, as they already have a sense of comradery and brotherhood to put on for their state.
Frye has a lot more work to do in this class, but he is off to one hell of a start with Padilla and Montgomery. I have a feeling that this may be one of the better line classes the Buckeyes have pulled in a number of years, especially considering that stars such as Chase Bisontis, Samsun Okunlola, and Finland offensive lineman Olaus Alinen are still in the mix.