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Now healthy, Ohio State left tackle Thayer Munford expects special senior football season

Bill Rabinowitz
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State tackle Thayer Munford, blocking against Northwestern in October 2019, said he was only 80% healthy last season but is full-go now.

Thayer Munford was a second-team All-Big Ten left tackle for Ohio State in 2019, so it wasn’t as if his season was a disappointment.

In fact, the honor is more impressive considering that Munford estimates he was no better than 80% healthy because of a back injury sustained at the end of 2018. That prevented him from fully participating in offseason training.

Munford pronounced himself healthy for his senior season, which starts Saturday against Nebraska, and he’s determined to make it special.

“There's no words at all,” he said. “After watching my last year's film, I knew it wasn't 100%. I knew I wasn't powerful in my run game. I knew I wasn't as fluid as I am right now in my pass sets.

“That motivated me so much. I just want to go out there and compete and dominate whoever is in front of me right now.”

Munford said he gutted it out last year because he couldn’t bear to let down his teammates. Though the pandemic forced players to work out on their own for much of this offseason, Munford believes he is much better physically. He improved his diet and strengthened his core muscles.

“This year, I can lift a lot more,” he said. “I feel a lot stronger and a lot quicker now than last year.”

Coach Ryan Day agrees.

“The way that he played (in 2019) was pretty remarkable, in my opinion, based on he really didn't have the offseason to get stronger,” he said. “But he found a way, which shows his resilience.

“This offseason, he's really done a great job getting strong. He's had a whole offseason to get himself to where he needs to be. Because of that, you'll see a different player this season.”

Last year’s offensive line consistently dominated opponents. Munford, center Josh Myers and All-American right guard Wyatt Davis return. The Buckeyes do not expect a drop-off with left guard Harry Miller and right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere succeeding Jonah Jackson and Branden Bowen.

“Last year, everybody said we were one of the best offensive line groups that Ohio State has ever had,” Munford said. “Personally, I think from what I've seen and what we have been doing during practice all this time that we are going to be the best offensive line in the whole country.”

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch