Ohio State Buckeyes: Myers family grateful for any kind of football season

Josh Myers hopes to help pave the way for Ohio State’s ninth national championship on Monday night against Alabama, and his parents will be in the stands cheering him on.

The trip from Miamisburg, where Josh was a standout high school player, and Miami, Fla., the site of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, is never short, but this particular year it might seem even longer.

Although Ohio State has played only seven games so far, the Buckeyes have been working out together since June and essentially living in a quasi-bubble.

They have been asked to limit contact with people outside the program, which means Julie and Brad Myers have not hugged their son since the summer.

That’s made being a football parent — a stressful experience for anyone regardless of the level of competition — even more onerous, but they agreed it has been worth it.

“To be honest with you, I mean it’s surreal every time you pull into the ‘Shoe to watch him play,” Brad Myers said. “Just to have the opportunity that he’s had, it’s been unbelievable.

“And then to experience the success that the team has had — it’s hard to even wrap your mind around, honestly. I mean we’re going to the national championship game in a couple days, and not only are we going but our son’s playing in it. It’s just like, ‘Huh?’”

Josh is a second-year starter at center for Ohio State.

That came after waiting his turn for two years, an experience his father said was difficult but worth it in the long run.

After playing in Miamisburg’s Wing-T offense, he practically had to start from scratch to learn Ohio State’s offense, but Myers brought a physicality and a mindset coaches covet and was able to persevere.

“It was insanely hard for him, but I think if you asked him today in hindsight, he would tell you that that was the best thing that ever happened to him,” Brad Myers said. “And I think he would say that just because when he did step on the field his confidence was spot on. There was no question that he was ready to play and take care of business and be a productive player for the team.”

A four-star recruit, Myers arrived at Ohio State with high expectations. He has lived up to them while also earning a degree in social work. That is an appropriate pursuit, according to his mother.

“Most people don’t know this about Josh, but he has a huge heart for kids and for just people who are disadvantaged in any way,” she said. “He has always gone out of his way to champion the special needs children, either in the high school or junior highs. We have lots of stories we could share with you about that it’s really pretty touching, but he has a huge heart for giving back. He realizes how blessed he has been and his whole goal once this is all done is just to give back.”

The life of a football parent is never easy whether watching a child play peewee, suit up for the local high school or take the field in college or even the NFL, but this season has added an extra level of anxiety.

Aside from the usual threat of injury that comes with a physical game, this year the novel coronavirus hung over everything players did.

Josh went through his own bout with the disease in November and endured 10 days of isolation.

He stayed in close contact with his parents and tried to keep them from worrying about him too much but admitted in interviews after the Big Ten Championship game the experience was awful for him more because of the isolation than the symptoms of disease, which were mild in his case.

“Just not being able to be with him was the hardest part,” said Julie Myers, who is a physician. “And for him not being able to be around friends and family, plus he was missing a game and in an already shortened season, so that was hard for him.”

He returned to the field Dec. 19 for Ohio State’s win over Northwestern and was also in the lineup for the victory over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl last week.

Next up is an even greater challenge against Alabama.

It could be his last game in Scarlet and Gray — Josh Myers said he would provide an update on his plans in regards to the NFL Draft on Jan. 12 — but his parents said his experience has been top-notch regardless.

“He wants to represent his community, and you’re representing it at a school that is bigger than life,” Julie Myers said. “And I think all that has been really special to just to represent the community and to just be able to play at an institution like Ohio State. He’s loved Ohio State — absolutely loves it. We love Ohio State — the coaching staff, the training staff — I mean it’s been nothing but an extremely, extremely wonderful experience for for the whole family.”

In his last pregame interview before the title game, Josh confirmed he shares that point of view.

“I think there’s great people at a lot of places, but there’s great people at Ohio State who care about you and also will push you in the direction that you need to go to get you to where you need to be in your career, and I think that’s a special thing,” he said. “And I think that the way that the entire university and the coaching staff and everyone inside the facility goes about it is what separates us, in my personal opinion.

“And then on top of that the culture and the history behind Ohio State football is just so special. All of the things that we get to do, I could talk about it forever to be honest with you.”

About the Author