The Buckeyes signed four offensive linemen in their 2023 recruiting class, and all four were high school tackles. Soon after their arrival at Ohio State in the winter, however, each of the four were handed their new assignments by OSU offensive line coach Justin Frye. The assignment given to Joshua Padilla was center, which carries a ton of responsibility with it.
Out of Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, Padilla was ranked the No. 11 interior offensive line prospect in the nation, and the No. 226 prospect overall. He signed with Ohio State while holding offers from the likes of Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oregon, and others.
What To Like
When Ohio State projects an offensive lineman to center, they are looking for a number of attributes. One of the most important is athleticism and mobility. The position will require a player to pull in either direction, or get into the second level to pick off a linebacker, or be able to handle blitzes up the middle, all the while being stout enough to be able to maintain leverage against the biggest defenders on the field.
Putting Joshua Padilla at center makes a ton of sense for the Buckeyes. For one, his size at 6-foot-3 and 293 is right in the wheelhouse for the position. For two, he was a talented high school wrestler, so he understands leverage and knows how to use his strength. For three, he played tackle in high school, so he’s had to be a mobile lineman for years.
As you’ll see below, this also includes getting out wide on receiver screens, which is a long way to run for a lineman.
Freshman center Joshua Padilla played right tackle in high school, but will start out at center for the Buckeyes. He has shown the athleticism that Ohio State likes at that position. pic.twitter.com/LH1KaGBNVU— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 5, 2023
Any college football player with a background in wrestling has an advantage on the line of scrimmage that others don’t. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be successful every time, but it means they have a history of dealing with one-on-one battles for leverage and positioning.
Joshua Padilla’s background in wrestling is perfect for what Ohio State is going to be asking him to do in the running game. The physicality of the position suits him well, and the leverage needed at the point of attack is something that isn’t foreign to him at all.
Joshua Padilla is a physical run blocker, which will suit him well on the interior of the Ohio State offensive line. pic.twitter.com/yRwWsXf74b— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 5, 2023
Justin Frye isn’t looking for Joshua Padilla to play much this year. The Buckeyes already have a number of options at center — even though there is no established starter yet.
Padilla enrolled early at Ohio State and spent his time in the spring as the Buckeyes ‘No. 3 center behind redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman and Louisiana-Monroe transfer Victor Cutler. Fourth-year junior Jakob James will also contend for the starting position, but he missed the spring with an injury.
As such, Padilla can spend his time learning the playbook and mastering the nuances of what will eventually be required of him.
And given OSU’s love of the passing game, Padilla’s past as a pass blocker will also come in handy down the road.
Joshua Padilla's experience as a pass blocker at right tackle is another example of the type of mobility the Buckeyes are looking for at center. pic.twitter.com/edW3LTB18u— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 5, 2023
The Bottom Line
Joshua Padilla likely won’t be pressed into duty this year, so he should be able to redshirt. It is normal for offensive linemen to take two or three years before they are reliable enough to see the field, but Padilla has the framework to possibly do better than that.
How quickly he sees the field remains to be seen, but one thing is certain — Joshua Padilla possesses the kind of demeanor that shines on the offensive line.
Joshua Padilla was also a very talented high school wrestler, so here's a couple minutes of riding time for you. pic.twitter.com/JzIrsRIRYF— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) July 5, 2023
Previous Closer Look editions
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz | Wide Receiver Carnell Tate | Wide Receiver Brandon Inniss | Tight End Jelani Thurman | Offensive Lineman Vic Cutler | Offensive Lineman Luke Montgomery | Defensive End Joshua Mickens | Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald | Defensive Tackle Jason Moore | Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. | Cornerback Davison Igbinosun | Safety Ja’Had Carter | Safety Jayden Bonsu