Chase Farris was an intimidating force for the Ohio State offensive line last season. Replacing him could have caused plenty of headaches for the Buckeyes, but sophomore right tackle Isaiah Prince has proven to be effective in the starting role.
Prince, a native of Greenbelt, Maryland, is a former four-star recruit who was considered the best player from his state. On Signing Day, he signed with the Buckeyes, boosting an already large haul for OSU.
Paving the way for redshirt freshman Mike Weber on the ground and protecting redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett’s right side, Prince has been instrumental in the success of the offensive unit for OSU regardless of his young age. Currently, the Buckeyes have surrendered just two sacks through four games, and average 332 yards rushing per contest.
“For me personally, there was no pressure.” Prince said. “This is something we’ve been preparing every day in the winter and spring.”
A young lineman stepping into the starting lineup for OSU is no small accomplishment. Orlando Pace, John Hicks, Jim Lachey and Nick Mangold are a few former OSU offensive lineman who have had their names go down in Buckeye history.
After backing up now-NFL talents in both Taylor Decker and Farris, Prince has had large expectations about his play. Even though he has earned his way into the lead role at right tackle, OSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said he and fellow tackle and junior left tackle Jamarco Jones still need to improve.
“I’m pleased with some of the things they’re doing, and I’m not pleased with some things they’re doing,” Studrawa said. “But they’re growing.”
Against Oklahoma, the offense for OSU faced a tough task in the defensive unit of the Sooners. Although Barrett tossed four touchdowns that evening, the night belonged to the lineman and the running backs for the Buckeyes.
All told, OSU had 291 yards on the ground, and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Multiple long runs, including Weber’s 35-yard scamper in the second half, were off the right side.
Prince, standing at a massive 6-foot-7, 310 pounds, seems to swallow up opposing defensive ends and linebackers before they can even get out of their stance. A man of few words, the Maryland native has let his play do the talk this season.
Overall, Prince said he has improved in basically every way, with an extreme emphasis on his pass protection and run blocking.
In multiple times this season, Prince has collapsed the entire right side of the opponent’s defensively line single-handedly. Teamed up with redshirt junior guard Billy Price, running plays to the right has paid dividends in the form of big gains for the OSU offense.
The ability to dominate may be impressive, but it’s business as usual for Prince.
“Anything to help the team,” Prince said. “Anything to help (Weber), (Barrett), anyone of them pop through. That’s my job. That’s what I’m supposed to do.”
With a multitude of talent lost to the NFL, fans were anxious to see how OSU coach Urban Meyer would replace such skilled players. “The Slobs,” the self-imposed moniker of the offensive line, seemed to be a thing of the past after the 2015 season.
Redshirt senior center Pat Elflein insisted the name would stay, and the players moving up were more than worthy of the coveted title.
Considering how Prince has played so far this season, it seems fitting that when asked if his name can be considered a part of the group of mauling blockers, he only smiled and offered a short reply.
“Yeah, I’m a Slob,” Prince said.