If you googled "list of the greatest programs in the history of college football" you would find the Ohio State Buckeyes somewhere high on such a list. They have the sixth-most wins in all of college football, and their seven claimed national titles only exemplify their success.
Lying behind every great sports franchise, you'll find great players. Ohio State doesn't take a back seat when you consider their 78 consensus All-Americans and seven Heisman Trophy winners.
Without further ado, here is Ohio State's all-time football team, recognizing their greatest players ever to play at each position on the football field as well as their greatest coach. Enjoy!
Being a two-time All-American who went on to win the Outland Trophy (1996) and the Lombardi award (1995,1996), Orlando Pace solidified his place in the Buckeye history books.
The flat out dominant mammoth of a man is the only player in college football history to be a two-time recipient of the Lombardi award, and he finished fourth in the 1996 Heisman voting. Not too shabby for an offensive lineman!
Parker possessed a great blend of size, strength, quickness and agility and was a huge contributor on Woody Hayes' 1954 national championship team. As a junior in 1955, Parker earned All-American honors and was a big part of why Howard "Hopalong" Cassidy went on to win the Heisman trophy.
In 1956 Parker was a unanimous All-American selection who finished eighth in the Heisman voting and was the recipient of the Outland trophy. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974.
Though I originally had Nick Mangold in this slot, Bentley has a more formidable college resume. After playing for head coach John Cooper in his first three years at Ohio State, he remained consistent during his senior season under the new leadership of Jim Tressel.
Despite being on a team that went 7-5 in 2001, Bentley was a consensus First-Team All-American who won the Rimington Trophy that awards college football's best center.
Very few players have earned All-American honors at two different positions. Warren Amling was one of them After playing as an offensive guard during his junior season, he switched positions in order to fill the void needed at right tackle.
Amling finished seventh in the 1945 Heisman voting, and in 1984 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Before Hicks had to sit out a season-and-a-half with a injury, he won the starting job as only a sophomore. During his junior and senior seasons he was an All-American (unanimous All-American in 1973) and he won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi award in his career as a Buckeye.
In all three years he started for the Buckeyes they won the Big Ten championship and play in the Rose Bowl. Hicks was the first college football player to ever start in three Rose Bowls.
Archie Griffin is arguably the most accomplished back in the history of college football, and he is most popularly recognized as the only player to ever win the Heisman trophy twice. He was as good as they get, and he holds the Ohio State record for rushing yards in a career with 5,589.
Griffin led the Buckeyes in rushing for four-straight years, and he is one of only two players in college football history to start in four-straight Rose Bowls. He is also the only player to lead the Big Ten in rushing for three-straight years
The former All-American was the recipient of The Big Ten Most Valuable Player Award, the Maxwell award, the Heisman Trophy, and he was named the United Press International Player of the Year.
Five-time national champion coach Woody Hayes had this to say about Griffin per ESPN: "He's a better young man than he is a football player, and he's the best football player I've ever seen."
It would be hard for anyone to put a dent in the stat sheet running behind a star like Archie Griffin. However, Pete Johnson did just that, rushing for 1,059 yards in 1975. That year he also set single season records with 25 rushing touchdowns and 168 points.
Johnson finished his career with 2,308 rushing yards despite playing behind Griffin. More impressively, he scored more touchdowns in his career (58) than anyone in Buckeye history. He also had more points than anyone in the history of Buckeye football until Mike Nugent surpassed him in 2004.
Despite having a disappointing ending to his career, Troy Smith is the greatest quarterback in Buckeye football history. Not only did Smith take home the Heisman Trophy in 2006, he led the team to two Big Ten titles and was 23-3 as the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes
Smith is known as a Wolverine killer as he tallied up 1,051 total yards (more than anyone in Buckeye history) and nine total touchdowns en route to becoming the first quarterback in Buckeye football history to lead his team to three wins against "that team up north" as a starter.
Smith left a legacy that will forever be remembered in the hearts of Ohio State fans, and his career completion percentage (62.7 percent) is second in school history for QBs that started for at least one season.
The All-American was awarded a lot in his college football career being named the Sport News College Football Player of The Year, the Fiesta Bowl MVP, the Buckeye MVP, the Big Ten MVP, the Associated Press Player of The Year and being the recipient of the Heisman Trophy.
Out of Humble, Texas, David Boston was a three year starter for the Buckeyes. He holds the school record for total receptions with 191, and he averaged 5.2 catches per game. That's more than anyone in Buckeye history. With touchdown and two point conversion receptions, Boston also averaged 5.89 points per game in his career.
Not only was he an excellent receiver, he was a great return man too and his 959 punt returns is tops in school history.
Though Boston had a boat load of highlights, the marquee moment of his career was when he caught the game winning catch in the 1997 Rose Bowl with just 19 seconds left on the clock.
Known for having great hands, Carter was born to be a wide receiver. Being a big-time recruit for head coach Earl Bruce, he made an immediate impact. Before having a stellar sophomore season, Carter set a Rose Bowl record with 172 receiving yards as just a freshman.
Before he was suspended for his senior year (for secretly signing with a notorious sports agent), Carter was named an All-American as a junior.
Even though Carter missed out on his senior season, he left as Ohio State's career leader in receptions (before David Boston surpassed him in 1998).
When it comes to the total package at tight end, John Frank was the man. His 121 receptions is the most by a tight end in Buckeye history, and it ranks fourth all time by any player to put on a scarlet and gray uniform.
The two-time All Big Ten selection was voted team MVP as a senior.
John Cooper seemed to reel in a boatload of stud defensive players in the mid 90s. Mike Vrabel was no exception as he anchored the defensive line.
Being named a consensus All-American in 1996, Vrabel became just the second player in history to be named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year twice (1995, 1996).
In 2000 Vrabel was named to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team, as he finished his career with 36 sacks and 36 tackles for loss.
Bill Willis was one of the first African-Americans to play for the Buckeye football team. Though he was undersized for a defensive lineman, coach Paul Brown favored his quickness as he won the starting job in 1942. That year the Buckeyes took home the Big Ten and the national championship while Willis was just a sophomore.
The All-Conference performer led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season his senior year and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
However, Willis was honored the most when Ohio State retired his No. 99 jersey in 2007.
Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson was a former teammate of Vrabel's, contributing to one of the best defensive lines in the country in 1993. Wilkinson was a beast on the defensive line considering the fact that he started off his career as an offensive tackle.
In Wilkinson's two years as a starter on the defensive line, he tallied up 90 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks.
Wilkinson was a First Team All-American and a first team All Big Ten selection in 1993.
Will Smith was an integral part of a 2002 Buckeye football team that won the national championship thanks to stellar defensive play.
Not slowing down during his senior season in 2003, Smith recorded 10.5 sacks en route to being named an All-American.
Smith was also a First Team Big Ten performer as a senior.
Is there any denying that Chris Spielman is the greatest linebacker in Buckeye history? Spielman was by far the best Ohio State defensive player of the 80s as well, and many would say he's one of the best Buckeyes of all time.
Being a two-time All-American, Spielman led the team in tackles and interceptions as a senior in 1988. That year he also won both the Lombardi and Chic Harley awards and was named the team MVP.
Spielman's 512 tackles ranks third in Buckeye football history, and he is now in the College Football Hall of Fame
Award winning wise, James Laurinaitis aka "Little Animal" is the most accomplished linebacker in Buckeye history. Laurinaitis was a three-time consensus All-American who took home the Bronco Nagurski award (2006), the Dick Butkus award (2007), the Jack Lambert award (2007, 2008), the Lott trophy (2008) and the Lowe's senior CLASS award (2008).
"Little Animal" is one of only four players in Buckeye history to lead the team in tackles three times in a career, and he is the only player in college football history to win the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award twice (2007, 2008).
What? No A.J. Hawk or Andy Katzenmoyer? Not with Tom Cousineau being an alumni of Ohio State. Cousineau was a tackling machine for the Scarlet and Gray and rarely was he not in on the play defensively.
The first-team All-American broke the school record for tackles in a game (29) and tackles in a season (211) in 1978, and his 569 career tackles ranks second in Buckeye history.
As if that wasn't enough, Cousineau was also the MVP of the 1977 Orange Bowl.
Another stud defensive player on Ohio State's national championship winning football team in 2002 was All American safety Mike Doss. The Canton, Ohio excelled at the safety position despite being considerably undersized.
Doss was the captain of that great OSU defense in 2002, and he started in 40 out of 50 of his career games as a Buckeye.Being a three-time All Big Ten selection, a three-time All-American and the Big Ten Defensive Player of The Year; Doss' career was nothing short of spectacular.
However, the highlight of his career came in the 2002 BCS National Championship when he picked off a pass from Miami's heralded QB Ken Dorsey.
There are a handful of legends in Ohio State football history. Known for his hard hits and his physique, Jack Tatum is one of them.
The converted running back was a shut-down safety who earned All Big Ten honors three years in a row (1968-70) and was a two-time unanimous All American.
Having also being named the National Defensive Player of the Year in 1970, Tatum is now in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Ohio State Varsity "O" Hall of Fame.
Though he was a bit undersized, Antoine Winfield is one of the best players to ever play in the secondary for the Buckeyes, and he often covered the opposing team's best wide receiver.
Winfield was a unanimous First-Team All American (1998) en route to taking home the Jim Thorpe award that's annually given to the best defensive back in all of college football.
Being a three-time All Big Ten performer, Malcolm Jenkins was one of the best defensive backs in the country during his tenure at Ohio State. Not only was he a First-Team All-American in 2007, he won the Jim Thorpe award as a senior in 2008.
Jenkins recorded 196 tackles and 11 interceptions in his career.
Howard "Hopalong" Cassady is another legend at Ohio State as he is one of only seven Buckeyes to have his jersey number retired.
Playing on offense, defense and special teams, Cassady scored 37 total touchdowns in just 36 career college football games. The two-time consensus All-American was the workhorse of Woody Hayes' 1954 national championship team.
In 1955, Mr. Cassady not only won the Heisman Trophy, he was also named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year and won the Maxwell award.
In his four-year career as a defensive back, not a single pass was completed against him.
Groom was another key defensive weapon on Ohio State's national championship winning squad. He is No. 1 in school history with an average of 45.0 yards per punt, and he was a First-Team All-American in 2002.
Groom holds the record for the longest punt in Ohio State history (74 yards).
As the first kicker in Ohio State history to me named the team's Most Valuable Player (2004), you know Mike Nugent was special.
Having won the Lou Groza award as the nation's best kicker in 2004, the All-American broke or tied 22 records at Ohio State.
Nugent's most popular accomplishment came during his senior season when he became the leading point scorer in Buckeye football history.
Though he had a dishonorable ending to his career, Woody Hayes is possibly the biggest legend in all of Ohio State football. His hatred of the archrival Michigan Wolverines made him an iconic figure in itself. However, his success as a head coach was more impressive.
During his 28-year career as the head coach of the Buckeyes, they went 238–72–10, won 13 Big Ten Championships, went 16-11-1 against Michigan and won five national titles.
Four of Woody's teams went undefeated, and five of them ended their season with just one loss.
Under Hayes the Buckeyes became (and they remain) the only Big Ten school to play in four-consecutive Rose Bowls.
One of Vince Lombardi's famous quotes is: "The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender," and Hayes' players personified that on the football field.