Determination, opportunity fuels Wypler’s drive for starting role

Ohio State redshirt freshman offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53) participates in a drill during spring practice. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

With the confetti freshly fallen in Miami and Alabama recently crowned champions, many Buckeyes saw the end of the season as an opportunity to rest. 

But redshirt freshman offensive lineman Luke Wypler viewed it as a signal to prepare for next season, and he found himself in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center working on his craft less than 24 hours after time expired at the national championship game. With an opportunity to get on the field in the 2021 season, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said Wypler made his work ethic known the day after the Buckeyes’ final game. 

“It’s not 24 hours since the game ended and he’s in the Woody doing drills, filming the drills and saying, ‘Coach, take a look at this and critique me, man, because I want to work on this,’” Studrawa said. “That’s what I love, and that kid stayed here the entire time, most guys went home for two weeks and saw their families — and I’m good, that’s fine — and this kid’s in here every single day. That’s how important it is to him.” 

Wypler, a four-star recruit in the 2020 class, sat behind an experienced offensive line that included veterans on the interior. 

With center Josh Myers and guard Wyatt Davis turning their sights on the 2021 NFL draft, Ohio State is searching for anchors to spearhead the offensive attack. 

Wypler said that with a sour taste in his mouth from loss, he got to work in order to position himself to claim one of the open positions. 

“I know what I’m up against this year, with Josh Myers leaving for the NFL draft and Wyatt Davis leaving for the NFL draft,” Wypler said. “There’s two open jobs on the O-line and I want to make sure I put myself in the best position, I’m in the best shape and be working on my tools and everything I can personally do to be the best player I can be.”

Studrawa said Wypler and redshirt junior offensive lineman Matt Jones have taken the majority of reps at center throughout spring practices. 

Another player that will be vying for the center position is junior Harry Miller, who started at left guard for the Buckeyes in 2020. Miller is missing spring practice with an undisclosed injury that will likely keep him from participating in any contact drills throughout spring, head coach Ryan Day said. 

In terms of his work at the position, Studrawa said Wypler has worked and studied hard to develop a rhythm with snapping the ball and stepping into his blocks. 

“A guy that works that hard, you’re going to be successful, period, and that’s one of the things I love about the kid,” Studrawa said. 

Wypler said the standard of play on the line is being set by the returning tackles — graduate Thayer Munford and redshirt senior Nicholas Petit-Frere. 

Despite the competition on the inside, Wypler said the group is still working to help one another improve. 

“All of us came here to compete. I think that’s one of the main things in recruiting here is you hear a lot of, ‘Iron sharpens iron,’” Wypler said. “For all of us, we come in with the mindset that even though we’re competing, we’re all still trying to get better with each other, we’re all still trying to help each other out.” 

Wypler said he has developed as a player and an athlete, something he has credited to assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti. 

Studrawa said the New Jersey native has worked hard and possesses a tough mentality, which Wypler said is born from his hometown roots. 

“A lot of that comes from how I was raised personally, with my parents being hard workers and showing me what it’s like to work hard and work for things you want, and things are never handed to you in life, everything you want you have to work hard and strive hard to achieve,” Wypler said. “I try to own that mentality the best I can and every day put hard work in and stack days up against each other and after that, get a nice payout.”

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