Joshua Padilla

2023 Ohio State Freshman Class Report: Offensive Lineman Joshua Padilla

This is the 16th installment in a series where Buckeye Huddle looks back on each member of Ohio State’s 2023 signing class and the impact they had as rookies, as well as the impact they could have during the upcoming 2024 season. Up next is interior offensive lineman Joshua Padilla.

Joshua Padilla became the latest Wayne (OH) High School alum to choose Ohio State, joining past Buckeyes like Braxton Miller and Marcus Freeman. He was a two-time All-State selection as an offensive tackle, and was also the 2022 state runner-up in wrestling as a heavyweight.

Padilla was a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 11 interior prospect in the 2023 recruiting class and the No. 228 player overall. He chose Ohio State over offers from Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, Penn State, and others. Padilla committed to the Buckeyes about three weeks after receiving an offer from the Wolverines.

2023 Season

Joshua Padilla was one of four offensive linemen signed by the Buckeyes in 2023, and all four enrolled early and took part in winter conditioning and spring football. Even though he was an offensive tackle in high school, head coach Ryan Day and offensive line coach Justin Frye had a pretty good idea very early on where they saw Padilla lining up for them.

“Josh Padilla is going to start at center for us,” Day said back on the early signing period in late 2022. “This is a guy whose dad is a wrestling coach, he was a wrestler. Has all the traits you’re looking for in a center. The quickness, the ability to leverage the noses and the guys that he’s gonna have to go against every day. And he’s got a toughness about him.”

Being a true freshman offensive lineman while also learning a position as critical as center meant that immediate playing time was not going to be likely. In fact, Padilla was one of three freshmen offensive linemen who didn’t play in any games last year. That’s generally the nature of the position even without a position change.

“Josh Padilla, who is the same guy who played tackle at Wayne, and now all of a sudden, ‘Hey, here’s the football,'” Frye said midway through last year’s spring camp. “So you’re playing one-handed. And it’s not wrestling in the Schott for a state tournament and it’s not playing, you know, Springfield anymore, you’re playing a really good defense. So all those guys have they’ve taken their lumps and they’ve shown some really good stuff so far.”

So Now What For Joshua Padilla

The next game that Joshua Padilla plays in will be his first, which still means that playing time as a redshirt freshman is not entirely assured. The Buckeyes went out and landed a transfer center in Alabama’s Seth McLaughlin, and they also return redshirt sophomore Carson Hinzman who was last year’s starting center.

Depending on what happens at the center position or if somebody slides over a spot, Padilla is again looking at a reserve spot where he can get some snaps in blowouts and continue to learn and progress at the only position on the field that touches the ball on every snap.

Year three is more along the lines of when offensive linemen can be expected to challenge for a starting job, or even a solid spot in the two-deep. That’s just how things tend to go. The good news for Padilla and Ohio State, however, is that nothing to this point has seemed too big or too much for him.

“Those guys really didn’t have those, ‘Oh those were the rookies’ moments,” Frye said of his freshmen last May. “They handled a lot of stuff pretty well. And then they all kind of came into their own. Padilla went in, he’s never really played center. He’s going from tackle to center, well, now the ball’s in his hand and he’s blocking Mike Hall and some of those guys on the inside. So that was good for him just to kind of get with that. I was happy with all those guys.”


Safety Malik Hartford
Receiver Brandon Inniss
Safety Jayden Bonsu
Offensive Tackle Luke Montgomery
Defensive End Joshua Mickens
Tight End Jelani Thurman
Defensive Tackle Will Smith, Jr.
Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz
Linebacker Nigel Glover
Offensive Guard Austin Siereveld
Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr.
Defensive Tackle Jason Moore
Linebacker Arvell Reese
Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald

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