Ohio State Football: Billy Price right guy to break ‘Iron Man’ record

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 14: Offensive lineman Billy Price
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 14: Offensive lineman Billy Price /

These ‘Iron Men’ are outstanding representatives of the Ohio State football program.

When Billy Price took the field against Michigan State last Saturday, it was his 51st consecutive start which broke Luke Fickell’s long standing record.  It’s only appropriate for Price to become the new Buckeye ‘Iron Man’ because he is an outstanding representative of the Ohio State football program, just like the guy whose record he surpassed.

Coach Fickell not only had an exceptional playing career but was a long time assistant and a part of two national championship seasons, 2002 and 2014. He also kept the Ohio State football program together as the head coach during the 2011 season when it was in chaos.

Price may never match those accomplishments, but during his five tears at Ohio State his achievements are extremely impressive in their own right. And the first came before he played his first game for the Buckeyes.

Price was redshirted his freshman season but was named an OSU Scholar-Athlete. He earned that distinction again in 2014. Everyone knows the importance Urban Meyer puts on academics so you know that had to impress the Buckeye head coach.

In 2016 he was named Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. And as far as on-field accomplishments, they have been very impressive as well.

He was the only freshman on the rebuilt offensive line in 2014 that rounded into one of the best in the country by the end of the season. That group of “Slobs” paved the way for Ezekiel Elliott to rush for 696 yards in the postseason during the Buckeyes’ run to the national title.

In his sophomore year he was named third-team All-Big Ten by the conference coaches. Last season he was named first team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and the media and a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.

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To think, this was an improbable career for Price. He was recruited as a four star defensive tackle and was only moved to the other side of the ball in the spring of 2014.

At the time it appeared to be a temporary switch because of the lack of depth on the offensive line. With his strong performance during spring ball the move became a permanent one, and the Buckeyes have been better off for it.

Price could have entered the NFL draft last spring and who could blame him if he would have. He was certain to be drafted and he has already earned his degree.

Instead, Price came back for his senior season, in part to improve his versatility as he moved from guard to center, but also to hopefully lead Ohio State to another national title. Those attributes, always trying to improve as a football player and his love for the Buckeyes, is why he is one of the most respected players on the team and a favorite of Urban Meyer.

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Because of the respect I have for Luke Fickell, I didn’t want to see his record for consecutive starts broken. But if someone had to break it, I’m glad it was a character guy like Billy Price. Both of these guys will always be considered ‘Iron Men’, and most importantly, they represent the very best of Ohio State football.