When Ohio State’s Billy Price was introduced Thursday night as the winner of the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation’s top center, there was no doubt in Greg Studrawa’s mind Price was the right choice.

As offensive line coach for the Buckeyes, not only has Studrawa now coached two straight Rimington winners, including Pat Elflein last season, he watched Price show that it’s not all about winning games that makes the difference. In the gloom of the Ohio State locker room after a devastating loss at Iowa last month, Price rose to take control.

“Listen up real quick, men. Everything that we still want to play for is still sitting in front of us,” Price told the team. “That’s why we have this brotherhood, men. We need to come together as a team, because guess what? I’m going to get me a big ring. Long live the brotherhood for this moment right now. Long live the brotherhood for this moment.”

The Buckeyes fell short of the ultimate goal of making the College Football Playoff. But they did rally to win four straight, including the Big Ten championship game over Wisconsin last week, and earn a spot in the Cotton Bowl against Southern California. In other words, Price earned another championship ring to go with the Big Ten and national championship jewelry from 2014.

On Thursday, he won a trophy, ahead of fellow Rimington finalists Bradley Bozeman of Alabama and Will Clapp of LSU. In Atlanta to watch, along with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, was Studrawa. It rivaled that moment, he said, from the locker room at Iowa.

“It’s one thing to say those things, but the courage came the next four weeks to show the ethic and the leadership — that’s the true testimony,” Studrawa said. “He had the courage to stand up and say ‘I’m not going to let this thing fail,’ and then follow through.

“So is he deserving of this major award? Oh, yes.”

That’s two straight years that a man who was a guard the season before at Ohio State switched to center and won the position’s top award. In the 18-year history of the Rimington, named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, Buckeyes have won it three times, including LeCharles Bentley in 2001.

Price was recruited as a defensive lineman from Austintown Fitch in 2013, switched to offense and became a starter from 2014 on, setting an Ohio State record of 54 straight starts with still one game to play.

“Usually the process is, you sit for two years,” Price said. “But having switched over, redshirting that first year, then taking the opportunity to transform and take that spot, then be able to grow through it, it has been one hell of a journey.”

His background as a defensive lineman stoked his aggressive mentality.

“That’s probably what set the difference between myself and some of the other candidates who were fighting for that position,” Price said. “I’ve got that bite, I’ve got that next gear. It’s understanding if I’ve got to go get that block, it’s ‘You’ve got to go tear him up.’

“And the culture that has been built here for the offensive line, guys like Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Andrew Norwell, Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein — everybody has been aggressive, everybody has had that mentality of ‘I’m going to make sure I impose my will on you,’ and not the other way around. … That’s just the culture I was raised in. It helped me separate myself and get an edge.”

What makes Price special, Studrawa said — besides being the strongest person on the team, his work ethic and an intelligence that helped him already earn a degree from the Fisher College of Business — is, “He is such a perfectionist in everything he does. Everything in his life, he’s meticulous.”

Now look at the footprints Elflein and Price have left. A contingent led by current backup Brady Taylor will contend for the starting center position in the spring.

“Those are big shoes with big responsibility,” Studrawa said. “Not only do you have to play the position, you have to live up to what those guys did. That’s the standard here at Ohio State. So those shoes? Big.”

Price, Ward first team

Camp All-America

Along with being named the Rimington Trophy winner, Price was named to first team Walter Camp All-America. Sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa was named to the second team. 



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