It’s August in Columbus, Ohio. The first day of class has finally arrived and students pile into their lecture halls, looking around at who they will be learning with for the semester. Going into his senior year this fall, Josh Myers has experienced this day many times. He knows what is coming: first, a lot of looks because his 6’6, 300-pound stature is a clear giveaway that he plays football for the Buckeyes; second, the professor is going to ask him to share a fun fact about himself.
But, by this point, he’s got it down. Once the professor makes their way down to his name, he shares his fact. “I’m a big advocate of love movies; I don’t call them romance movies, they’re love movies.”
At that point, everyone in class learns what those close to Josh are so fortunate to know. Physically, he’s intimidating. You can see his pure aggression on the field as he demolishes defensive lines. However, once you get to know him on a personal level, you see a different side of him.
When the uniform is off and he steps out of the stadium, he is one of the most relaxed people you will ever meet. He’s incredibly humble, genuine, funny (always has jokes ready ‘with the quickness’, a phrase he loves to use, and I apologize to him if I completely used it wrong) and, of course, the worst person at responding to emails. This interview is three years in the making, but I couldn’t be more excited to share it. It was worth the wait, because his story only grows more interesting with time.
Josh’s father and brother both played football at Kentucky, and in 3rdgrade he followed in his family’s footsteps when he took up the sport. They both played center, and Josh followed suit. The feeling of comradery with his teammates is what solidified his love for football.
With athleticism running through his blood, he quickly made a name for himself among scouts and college coaches once he reached high school. The recruiting process began when he was only 15 years old. While most high school freshman are just trying to find their place, Josh was racking up offers from schools like Michigan, Florida, Tennessee and Ohio State.
Being transparent, Josh admits the process was not always easy. It’s undoubtedly a lot to put on someone so young.
“My friends would be hanging out and I would be in Alabama or Florida on a visit. On the weekends, I missed out on a lot. I cared about that a lot less once I got older, but in the beginning it was very hard,” he shared.
By the time he decided to close down his recruitment a year later, he had added offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Kentucky.
Even though he grew up a Kentucky fan, another school was calling him home.
“At Ohio State, it felt like a family atmosphere which was very important to me. Also, all of the tradition and the people. I really liked all of the coaches and players that I met. Everything felt right,” says Josh.
Before he finished up his high school career, he played in the game that would go down as his favorite highlight from those four years. Their team had played at the same stadium for around 100 years, and during his junior year they played the final game there. It was the conference championship against their biggest rival. Determined to say goodbye to that field enriched with school history in the best way possible, the team won on a last second touchdown.
After arriving to campus in 2016, he spent two years competing for the starting job before winning it last season. Josh remembers the emotional toll that the position battle placed on himself, once even going two weeks without speaking to his family because he didn’t want to tell them he wasn’t the starter going into that season. Nevertheless, he kept working every single day until his time finally came. In the 2019 season, he played in 951 snaps and is already seeing his name in predictions for the 2021 NFL Draft.
With his journey unfolding in ways that forced him to show his focus, determination and maturity, Josh became a shining candidate for Ohio State’s big brother program. This program provides a tenured mentor for incoming freshman when they arrive on campus. Being a big brother helped him continue to mature in more ways than he anticipated.
“Remembering what it felt like being a freshman and knowing that the incoming freshman has to look to me for guidance and answers when they’re going through their really bad days makes you quit thinking about what you’re upset about. Everyone on the team is going to have a bad practice or be really upset about something during that time, so putting yourself and what’s bothering you aside and focusing on someone else is super helpful. It’s definitely helped me mature as a leader and as a person,” says Josh.
Josh’s little brother is fellow offensive lineman Harry Miller from Buford, Georgia. Their high school journeys were quite similar; they both played for powerhouses in their home states and competed in the Army All American Bowl Game, later changed to the Adidas All American Bowl Game.
Harry shared the impact that Josh has on his life with me, saying, “Josh is one of the most incredible men I’ve ever met. His principles are incredible, but it’s even more impressive to see him maintain those beliefs at all times and fight for them. He’s one of the most noble guys on the planet and I love being his little brother.”
Ohio State had a remarkable season in 2019. They ranked first in the nation for multiple weeks and earned their way into the College Football Playoffs, playing against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.
The flight to Phoenix was one of Josh’s favorite parts. He had a first-class seat that folded all the way back and he jokes, “it ruined flying for me”.
After prepping for the bowl intensely, it was finally gameday. LSU had won the Peach Bowl and secured their spot in the National Championship earlier that day, so Ohio State entered ready to claim the second spot.
The support from Buckeyes fans at the game was remarkable.
“Honestly, with the least amount of bias as possible, I believe we have the best fan base in the entire country. We went to Arizona and had 70% of the stadium filled with Ohio State fans,” he recalls.
Unfortunately, even with the Buckeye fans support, Clemson pulled out a narrow win.
After playing the entire game, Josh began to cramp and was sitting on the bench as the clock wound down to zero and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields threw his final interception. In the unluckiest situation, Josh happened to be sitting right in front of the confetti cannon. As he tried to catch his breath, he was soon covered in orange and purple confetti. It stung like no other defeat has before. He dusted off the opponent’s confetti and caught up with his teammates in the locker room where he had the opportunity to bid farewells to the players that would be declaring for the draft.
Closing off that season was different for Josh. He’d spent his entire collegiate career anxiously awaiting the next season. After he earned the coveted spot and helped lead his team to the playoffs, his dream slipped away in mere seconds. The team’s first workout was held on the day of the National Championship and the mindset was the same: next year, they would not be in Columbus on the day of the championship.
This year could be the last season that Josh takes the field in the Horseshoe and plays for his home state. Once again, scouts and coaches have their eyes on him. Except this time, they are from the National Football League.
Before he shifts his focus to thinking about his draft eligibility, Josh still has unfinished business to handle in Columbus. He wants to leave Ohio State – the offensive line, specifically – better than he found it when he arrived. And he wants that National Championship title.