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.