Healthy Harry Miller among 'best five,' in line for Buckeyes starting job

Harry Miller 4 by Birm-Lettermen Row
Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller can play center or guard. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

The summer offseason is in full swing, and Lettermen Row is trying to survive it with our annual Position Week breakdowns. By the time all nine units at Ohio State have been covered, training camp and media days will nearly have arrived — and the return of football in the Horseshoe will be just around the corner. Let’s continue Offensive Line Week by breaking down how Harry Miller can impact the Ohio State offensive line.

COLUMBUS — The blueprint has always remained the same for Harry Miller at Ohio State.

He learned as a five-star freshman. He played left guard in Year Two as the Buckeyes leaned on veteran center Josh Myers, who Miller was set to take over for in Year Three. The plan was laid out for Miller, seemingly being executed at every point.

Until this spring. Miller was in a non-contact jersey for the 15 practice sessions in March and April. Luke Wypler assumed duties at center in Miller’s absence. Other guards — Josh Fryar and Matthew Jones — emerged as potential breakout candidates for this fall. At least five Buckeyes offensive linemen are battling for the open spots at center and guard.

Miller is certainly still the leader to take over at center. He’ll likely take control of the spot that has produced two Rimington Trophy winners in the last five years and countless other pro centers.

Even with his setback this spring, the blueprint is still in place.

“Absolutely, there’s no question — I would assume [Miller] is going to be one of the best five,” offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said. “These young guys are getting the reps and getting the work. But when the preseason comes, Harry is going right back into that mix — whether that be at center or at guard.

“We’re working on the best five, and I would assume he will be one of them. But we’ll see.”

As hard as it is to believe, Miller still hasn’t gone through an entire spring with the Buckeyes. He was on a mission trip to Nicaragua during the spring prior to his freshman season. Last spring was almost entirely canceled by COVID-19. And this spring, Miller was rehabbing back from an offseason surgery.

Harry Miller-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller played center last season at Michigan State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Even with the lack of time, Miller became the starting left guard last season and went through some growing pains, still helping the Buckeyes be one of the best offensive line units in America and a Joe Moore Award finalist. Now the question for Studrawa and the Ohio State coaching staff: Should Miller stay at guard or continue the progression dating back to his recruitment and become the next starting center?

“I think one of the things for us on the offensive line is having flexibility,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “Somebody like Matt Jones being able to play center or guard. When Harry gets healthy, being able to play center or guard. Someone like Paris being able to play tackle or guard. The more flexibility you have, the more options you’re going to have. The idea is to find our five best offensive linemen. That’s it. If we can do that and get those guys on the field, that’s the ideal situation for us.

“Now how does that fit in terms of position specificity? That’s what it comes down to over the spring, but the more guys can do, the more value they have.”

Miller certainly brings value to the Buckeyes offensive line. That unit will be among the best in the country yet again. It returns both tackles and Miller. It’ll replace Wyatt Davis with five-star Paris Johnson.

No matter where the Buckeyes decide Miller will play, he’ll likely start. And he has a chance to become the next star interior Ohio State offensive lineman — at either center or guard. The blueprint is still in place for Harry Miller.

“We’re looking for the best five guys, that’s for sure,” Day said. “Whatever that looks like, we’ll try to make that work. We’ve done that in the past.”