Last year on the Monday Morning Quarterback radio show, I declared Kentucky center Jon Toth as the 2014 offensive most valuable player. That comment fueled discussion and led to an inquiring stare from Tom Leach. From Mark Stoops to Shannon Dawson, UK coaches rave about their center’s ability to manage the line of scrimmage. But, who is Jon Toth and why is the most unassuming sports star on campus?
Jon Toth is from Indianapolis, Indiana. He played at Brebeuf Jesuit High School where he was ranked as the 11th best player in the state of Indiana as well as being named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association all state team. Recruiting services varied on their opinion and ranked him both as a guard and tackle. He participated in track and field, basketball, and lacrosse.
At UK, Jon wears the number 72 because, “everyone has to wear a number.” He states the one thing he likes most about playing football is, “playing it.” His abbreviated and unassuming media guide quotes acted as a precursor to our interview. Toth is a defined athlete and person. He won’t win a press conference and I don’t think he would care to. He didn’t like me asking about his potential NFL career. I speak the language of Offensive Linemen and his glare was confirmation enough for me to change my line of questioning. What he does very well is play football.
The two time All SEC Academic Honor Roll student can be best described as an intellectual mauler. Toth was forced into action as a redshirt freshman and played in all twelve games while being named to the All SEC Freshman Team. During his freshman year, Jon played a stretch of games weighing as little as 270 pounds. In 2014, the sophomore started all twelve games and was named as the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week in UK’s season opening game against UT Martin. Jon Toth is a combination of brains and brawn. His intellect allows him to direct offensive line traffic while his physical prowess factors in his ability to move large humans on a weekly basis. When I interviewed Kentucky defensive tackles, they all said that Jon Toth was the best center they’ve played against. High compliment given the Wildcat’s strength of schedule.
On Media Day I interviewed the 6’5 310 pound junior. Here are some questions and answers from our conversation:
Q-During the off-season, how did you prepare to lead the offensive line going into the 2015 season?
Toth-Spent a lot of time in the weight room just trying to get stronger, little bit of time in the film room.
Q-How much more confident are you at 310 pounds?
Toth-It’s a big boost to self-confidence.
Q-What’s the difference in Neal Brown and Shannon Dawson’s offensive on-line calls from the center position?
Toth-Not a huge difference in Coach Dawson’s and Coach Browns.
Q-Are you the leader in offensive line film room?
Toth-Yeah, I try to help the guys make calls.
Q-Do you need to become a more vocal leader?
Toth-Definitely that’s where I think I lack a little bit. On practice field being more vocal. Helping lead guys in the right direction.
Q-Do anything cool this summer?
Toth-Not really stayed in Lexington lifting and taking a class.
Q-You are named on NFL draft boards, did that factor in your season approach?
Toth-I’m not focused on NFL, I’m focused on being the best player I can be. Getting after it in the weight room. Be a better teammate for the guys out there.
Q-What are three things you worked in the offseason?
Toth-Getting stronger, working on calls, being more flexible.
Q-Are you comfortable snapping the ball with your left or right hand?
Toth-I only snap with my left hand but could snap right handed if I had to.
With Jon Toth, it’s what you see is what you get. I really like that. Jon Toth has a unique style of friendly brevity and blatant confidence. I hope the BBN realizes just how good he is and how great he could potentially be. I’ve been sky high on Jon for over a year. In an earlier KSR post, I named my All UK Team from Claiborne to Stoops. Jon Toth was my starting center. His black and white answers are indicative of his personality. Toth is an incredibly humble young man. Jon Toth is also the best technical football player on Kentucky’s team.