Linsley, a junior from Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman, missed the first two game of the 2011 season serving a team-issued suspension. He split time with Marcus Hall at right guard upon his return but once Mike Adams returned from his NCAA suspension, Linsley's playing time dwindled.
Then Linsley got a wake-up call with the arrival of Urban Meyer. The new head coach brought a change in attitude, one that positively altered that of the former four-star prospect.
"Corey's a fine player," Meyer said Saturday following the spring game. "He's the first one to tell you that he wasn't a fine player a year ago. His commitment to Ohio State wasn't there. It is now."
Linsley and the rest of the offensive line did not get off to a good start. Meyer said that "three or four" linemen missed his first team meeting and "a couple" missed the second. Meyer responded to that by instituting a week's worth of 5 a.m. workouts during the winter.
"I'm proud to say they don't miss meetings anymore and are doing a good job," Meyer said.
Linsley said the winter workouts were crucial, not only in changing his body but reaffirming his commitment to improving himself on and off the football field.
"It was kind of a crossroads in my life where it was either I make the decision to make myself a better player and better person or just continue down the path I was going down," Linsley said. "It was kind of like (during the 5 a.m. workouts), ‘Am I really going to quit this?' The answer was absolutely not.
"I was continually telling myself that I'm not going to quit. I was going to keep coming to these workouts. It was layer upon layer of building toughness within myself. I think I made a 180 in my life and on the field. I'm a better person and better player for these coaches being here."
Linsley continued his positive momentum in the spring. He slid from guard to center and emerged as the first-teamer at that spot ahead of Brian Bobek. Linsley also played well at center in limited action for the Scarlet squad Saturday in the spring game. Linsley's team earned a 20-14 win against the Gray team.
With the spring in the past, Linsley and the rest of the offensive line want to continue to grow. Meyer said the unit was one of the most improved of the spring and mentioned Linsley and Hall as two linemen who stepped up. The rest of the group does not want to rest on their laurels, either.
"Coach Meyer keeps saying we need to have a huge offseason now, and I have to be a leader," senior Jack Mewhort said. "Andrew Norwell, Reid Fragel and Corey Linsley – we have to lead this offensive line and do the things we need to keep doing to come in the fall and be prepared to win a lot of games. This is a hard-working group, this offensive line, and I'm excited to get after it this summer and come into fall camp prepared for the season."
Mewhort has been called a leader of the group and he has seen first hand how much the linemen have progressed.
"I think since the beginning of winter we've come leaps and bounds," he said. "Guys have just grown up a lot and matured. Our responsibilities have increased and the guys are just acting a lot better. They're really buying in. I think that's the way to describe it. I'm really proud of the way the offensive line has responded to the new regime. It's been great and we love it."