Cordle Hopes To Impress At Shrine Game

After starting for three years at Ohio State, Jim Cordle is looking to impress scouts at the East-West Shrine Game and make a professional career along the offensive line. To do so, he'll have to prove he can still play his original position of center despite not snapping a ball at OSU in quite some time.

The last two months have been quite an adventure for Jim Cordle.

The former Ohio State lineman won a Big Ten championship, was on a team that beat Michigan for the fifth time, graduated from OSU, got engaged and finally earned a Rose Bowl victory on New Year's Day against Oregon.

Not bad for a guy who had no idea what would happen when he underwent ankle surgery after the September clash with USC.

"It's been crazy," Cordle said in the locker room after the game. "After surgery, I had no idea what the future would hold, and I just stuck to it and kept the faith and believed. I went from as low as I could get to as high as I could get."

And from that high, the Lancaster, Ohio, native entered the real world. Next up is what will function as a job interview – a chance to impress pro scouts at the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla. Cordle, who will be joined at the game by OSU defensive lineman Doug Worthington, left Saturday and will go through a week of practices and then finally a game on Jan. 23 that will go along way in determining how a potential pro career will start.

No pressure, though.

"The mind-set is that it's a business trip," Cordle told BuckeyeSports.com. "Really, what I'm thinking is this is my chance. This is the opportunity. The practices are probably more important than the game, but this is my chance to make it. Playing tackle this year, it didn't really give me a stage to impress scouts or anything like that. Now I'll be going against the other good seniors that are trying to impress the scouts just like I am. I'll be competing all week against those guys. It's huge."

At the game, Cordle will be playing his natural position of center. Coming out of high school, he played in the middle of the line and ascended to the starting role there at Ohio State as a sophomore in 2007, playing on a team that made it to the national title game. He began the '08 season there, but an injury three games into the year moved Cordle to left guard and inserted Michael Brewster into the staring lineup.

With Brewster and left guard Justin Boren set at their positions, Cordle started this season at right tackle. When he returned from injury, he did some work at center but saw the field only as the Buckeyes' makeshift left tackle after an injury to starter Mike Adams. Upon his return, Ohio State ripped off five straight 200-yard rushing games, and Cordle acquitted himself well even though he was out of position and playing against players like Adrian Clayborn and Brandon Graham.

Still, Cordle projects as an interior lineman at the next level, and his time working as a snapper in practice should help in Orlando.

"It was just like riding a bike," he said, noting he played quite a bit of center during the week leading up to the Purdue game because of an injury to Brewster. "The fact that I've been preparing myself as far as that goes, it should be just like it was when I was a fulltime center."

Cordle has been pegged in many different places by draft prognosticators. Scout lists him as the No. 19 tackle on the board and a three-star draft prospect, while ESPN's Mel Kiper seems to have a higher opinion of Cordle after ranking him among his best underclassman centers in past years.

"The draft class at center this year is eh," Cordle said. "Same thing at guard, too. It's kind of down. Last year it was a real good center class, so this year it's down. There's an opportunity I can get back up. I think Mel Kiper on a chat the other day said I could be a mid-round pick. If you look around at all the different websites, it's across the board. I think I've been ranked real low at center, some have me high, some have me at guard and tackle because they don't know yet. That's another reason why this game is so big."

Cordle said he'll also enjoy getting the chance to put the pads back on and play in a competitive setting. Most of his routines in past years have centered on his being an Ohio State player, and now that he's graduated and working toward the draft, it has required an adjustment.

"To get back into a practice like this, it's very exciting," he said. "Just to be guaranteed to be able to play again is pretty cool. You're competing against really good guys and there's going to be NFL coaches there, and it's a real high-pressure situation. It's definitely going to be fun to go down and put the pads back on."


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