Buckeye Greats: Top Five Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time
Ohio State football has been around for over 100 years. Over those years it has had its ups and downs; its amazing seasons, its amazing coaches, and its amazing players. Ohio State has had many players help provide for it's rich and outstanding tradition.
Through the years, the Buckeyes and its faithful have saw many talented young guns come through Columbus. It's had its fair share of All Americans, Big 10 Players of the Year, and Heisman winners.
Many players will always be remembered in the hearts of Buckeye fans. Ohio State just isn't your ordinary football school. The fans are not like the ordinary fans. The tradition is long. The trophies are everywhere. It's known for winning. It's home to some of the greatest college football players to ever lace up and take the field.
Here is my list of the top give greatest Ohio State Buckeye football players of all time.
No. 5: Mike Doss
Mike Doss may be the only Buckeye on this list not to win a Heisman trophy, but his other accomplishments are pretty impressive.
For those who may not remember or even know who Doss is, his career at Ohio State was one of the greatest of all time.
In his four years as a Buckeye, Doss was a three time All-Big Ten First Team selection, a three time All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and a census All-American in 2002.
Doss played in 50 games while at Ohio State, starting in 40 of them. His stats were very impressive during his run as a Buckeye.
Doss piled up 331 tackles, 8 interceptions, 6 sacks, and 8 fumbles recovered. His most impressive season came in 2002. He would play in all 14 of Ohio State's games and victories, helping the Buckeyes to a huge upset win over the favored Miami Hurricanes in the BCS Title game.
Doss had an outstanding career at Ohio State. He wasn't the big time offensive stud as other guys on here, but he was the best at what he did: Playing defense. Doss did it the right way, and got the job done. He will go down as a Buckeye legend to many.
I know for me, his most unforgettable accolade was his amazing championship game, among all of his amazing accomplishments in that game. Maybe he doesn't stack up to other Ohio State legends, but Doss certainly deserves to be on this list.
No. 4: Troy Smith
Troy Smith spent his time in Columbus helping the Buckeyes get back to the promised land. His spectacular play led to his Buckeyes going 12-0 in the 2006 regular season, and playing in the BCS National Championship game.
It also led Smith to the 2006 Heisman Trophy.
Smith began his career at Ohio State in 2003. He was a young redshirt freshman who wasn't even on the depth chart at quarterback. Smith spent time in the backfield and as a kick returner. At the time, he came on to scouts in the NFL as an "athlete."
In 2004, Smith took backup snaps behind starting quarterback Justin Zwick. After Zwick's injury halfway through the season, Smith took over at quarterback. Smith won four of his five games as a starter, including a huge win over Ohio State's greatest rival, the Michigan Wolverines.
Shortly after his first true season, Smith was suspended for an undisclosed reason. It was later released that he had taken money from a booster. It would result in Smith sitting out the first game of a crucial 2005 season.
In 2005, Smith came on strong. Even though he missed two games(one as a starter, and most of the Texas game) He helped Ohio State to a 10-2 record and a BCS bowl win over Notre Dame. In his best season yet as a Buckeye, Smith threw for over 2,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. Smith also showed his ability to run, rushing for over 600 yards and 11 touchdowns. His play in the BCS Fiesta Bowl earned him the offensive MVP of the game.
His solid 2005 season would lead up to one of the greatest seasons by an Ohio State quarterback of all time.
In 2006, Troy Smith entered the season as a favorite for college football's most famous award, the Heisman Trophy. Smith began the season on a good note, in the second week of the year by taking down the second ranked Texas Longhorns on the road. His big game, in which he amassed 269 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, set him atop the list for the Heisman award.
Smith then did something not many quarterbacks can say. He led his team to a perfect 12-0 regular season, knocking off two top five ranked teams. Smith's stats included 2,507 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and just 4 interceptions. Smith took down fellow college football stars Brady Quinn and Darren McFadden, to give Ohio State its first Heisman winner since Eddie George.
Smith's career at Ohio State was an amazing one. He won a lot of games, put up great numbers, won big bowl games, and most importantly, beat Michigan three times. Smith's career numbers, 5,720 passing yards and 54 touchdown passes, rank at the top of Ohio State's quarterback stats. Smith will go down as a true Buckeye great.
No. 3: Howard Cassady
Someone with such a nickname as "Hopalong" really wouldn't seem like much of a football star.
But Mr. Cassady was just that at the Ohio State University.
A Columbus native, Cassady began his football career at Ohio State in 1952. Cassady was known for being not only an offensive specialist, but also a defensive specialist.
In his early years, Cassady wasn't really known in the football world. But things would change for the Ohio State great.
Many believe Cassady should be the second two-time Heisman winner in Ohio State and NCAA history. In 1954, the year before winning his Heisman, Cassady finished third in the voting. He finished behind Alan Amache of Wisconsin, who Cassady and Ohio State defeated and held Amache to just 42 yards of offense.
1955 was the big year for "Hopalong." Cassady finally broke free and won his first Heisman Trophy. This time, nobody was standing in his way. At that time, it was the biggest winning margin to date.
Cassady went on to break and hold many Ohio State records. He held the all-time rushing record until 1969. He held the all time purpose yard record until being passed by another Ohio State legend, Archie Griffin. He also held the scoring record until 1975.
Cassady had an outstanding career at Ohio State, and it will be remembered for many years to come. He was also a baseball star while in Columbus. He went on to be drafted third overall in the 1956 NFL Draft.
Hopalong will always be a Buckeye legend that no true fans will ever forget.
No. 2: Eddie George
Eddie George was an instant star once he hit the field at Ohio Stadium.
In his true freshman season, George opened it up with three rushing touchdowns against Syracuse. George had a pretty solid freshman season, but along with being a true freshman and playing big time snaps comes failure.
In that same season, George experienced two huge blows to his young and promising Ohio State career. In a game against Illinois, George had a chance to score at the Illini four yard line. Instead, he fumbled, and Illinois took it back over 90 yards for a touchdown. Again George fumbled late in the game, with Ohio State leading by two points. Illinois recovered and went the distance of the field for the game-winning touchdown.
Even after the tough game against Illinois, many still believed George could be a star. And they were right.
In 1994, as a junior, George had a spectacular season. He recorded 1,442 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and showed signs of being a star.
The following season George became a breakout star.
In 1995, Eddie George put together one of the greatest single seasons of all time by any Ohio State Buckeye.
In that season George racked up 1,927 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns, both Ohio State records. Two games still stick out from the amazing season. Against Notre Dame George rushed for 207 yards. The other, possibly the greatest single game performance in Buckeye history, came against the team he had faltered against just before: the Illinois Fighting Iliini. George made the Illinois defense look plain stupid. Eddie put up 314 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Those two games will go down as truly amazing performances by an Ohio State legend.
In his career at Ohio State, Eddie George put up amazing numbers, had amazing games, and would become one of the greatest players in Buckeye history.
George left Ohio State with 3,768 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns, both ranking in the top three in school history.
Eddie George is a true Buckeye legend. No one should ever forget his amazing moments and amazing numbers while at Ohio State.
No. 1: Archie Griffin
This man, the No. 1 selection on my list, is not only an Ohio State legend, but a college football legend.
Archie Griffin was coming out of high school in the early 1970s as a highly recruited player. A lot of schools wanted Griffin and his amazing abilities to run, dodge, and break tackles. Archie played it smart, and decided to stay at home in Columbus and play for the Ohio State legendary coach, Woody Hayes.
I know Woody was pleased with the arrival of Mr. Griffin.
In his time at Ohio State, Archie Griffin put up great numbers, he won the great awards, he won the big games, and became a household name. But most importantly, he became a fan favorite, a legend, and hero for all Ohio State fans around the world.
As a freshman Griffin showed he could hang with the best of the best in the Big Ten. Griffin led Ohio State in rushing, with 827 yards, and showed promise that things would get nothing but better. In just the second game of his freshman season, Griffin ran for 239 yards against North Carolina. That would break a 27-year-old record.
In 1973, as a sophomore, his numbers improved, rushing for 1,577 yards. Woody Hayes knew he had something special in Archie, but I don't believe ole' Woodrow knew what was in store for this young man.
In 1974 as a junior, Griffin's numbers continued to skyrocket. He rushed for 1,695 yards, leading the Big Ten for the second straight year. Griffin's amazing play would set him up for the 1974 Heisman Trophy.
Griffin returned back to Ohio State for his senior season. Many wondered if the college star could be the first repeat Heisman winner in college football history.
Archie answered those questions.
In 1975, his numbers were not as good as his two prior seasons, but they were still good enough to earn him a second Heisman Trophy after rushing for 1,450 yards. To some, these numbers didn't warrant Griffin a second Heisman Trophy.
Griffin led the Big Ten for three straight seasons in rushing yards, something that had never been done before, and still hasn't.
Griffin would leave Ohio State with 5,589 rushing yards, then an NCAA record. He put up 6,559 all-purpose yards and scored 26 touchdowns in his four seasons at Ohio State. He also rushed for 100 yards in 34 career games, including an NCAA record 31 straight.
Griffin won many awards while in Columbus. Aside from his two Heisman Trophies, he also won the Walter Camp Award twice, and the Maxwell Award. Aside from his big awards and amazing numbers, another impressive thing about Griffin is being the only player to start in four Rose Bowl games.
Griffin left a legacy behind him that will run on for the test of time, not only at Ohio State, but in college football. I haven't seen anyone close to Archie Griffin come along yet, and I doubt I ever will.