While this list is not totally complete, it is what I have come up with for my All-Time Buckeye lineup. I tried to consider personal success as well as team success for the years that each player was active on the team. I also tried to weigh the legend that has been created by each player and the way in which they are remembered today.
Rex Kern (1968-70)—As a sophomore, Kern was the leader of the 1968 National Championship team, which is arguably one of the best teams in the history of Ohio State football. He finished his college career 27-2.
Archie Griffin (1972-1975)—Griffin is the only player to be awarded the Heisman Trophy twice. Griffin is also the only player ever to start in four Rose Bowls. During his time at Ohio State, Griffin rushed at least 100 yards in 34 games, setting an NCAA record with 31 consecutive games of 100 yards or more.
Cris Carter (1984-1986)—Carter was Ohio State’s first All-American at wide receiver. As a freshman Carter set a Rose Bowl record with nine receptions for 172 yards. Even though he didn’t play his senior year due to signing with an agent, Carter held the Ohio State record for receptions with 168.
Ted Ginn, Jr. (2004-2007)—Ginn finished his career at Ohio State with 125 receptions for 1,943 yards and 15 touchdowns in 37 games. He also rushed for 213 yards, returned 38 kickoffs for 1,012 yards, and gained 900 yards on 64 punt returns, the second highest total in Ohio State history. His four punt returns for touchdowns during his freshman season broke a Big Ten Conference Record. Ginn was drafted ninth overall in the 2007 NFL draft.
Orlando Pace (1994-1996)—Pace was only the second true freshman ever to start for the Buckeyes. He was also a two-time winner of the Lombardi Award for the best college lineman or linebacker in 1995 and 1996, and he was a finalist for the 1996 Heisman Trophy and finished fourth in the voting, the highest finish for a lineman (offense or defense) since Hugh Green finished second in 1980.
John Hicks (1970, 1972-1973)—Hicks had an outstanding senior season at Ohio State. He won the Lombardi and Outland Awards and finished second to John Cappelletti for the Heisman Trophy. In the same year RB Archie Griffin finished fifth and LB Randy Gradishar sixth. Hicks was a leader on one of the most dominant offensive teams in college football history, as the 1973 Buckeyes outscored teams 413 to 64 and blew out USC in the Rose Bowl.
Mike Nugent (2001-2004)—Nugent was the first Buckeye kicker to receive the Most Valuable Player award. He holds the record for career points with 356. Nugent was a consensus All-American and won the Lou Groza Award in 2004 as the nation’s top kicker.
Bill Willis (1942-1944)—Willis was a starter his sophomore year (’42), and the Buckeyes went on to win the Big Ten Conference and were voted the National Champions by the Associated Press. The next year Willis was named to the All-Conference first team. Just this past season, Willis’s No. 99 was retired in The Shoe during the Wisconsin game.
Jim Stillwagon (1968-1970)—Stillwagon is another member of the sophomore class that controlled the 1968 National Championship team. He was a consensus All-America selection as a junior and senior, won the Outland Trophy, and was the first-ever winner of the Lombardi Award.
Andy Katzenmoyer (1996-1998)— Katzenmoyer was the first Dick Butkus Award-winning middle linebacker to play for the Buckeyes.
Randy Gradishar (1971-1973)—Woody Hayes once said of Gradishar that he was the “best linebacker [he] had ever coached.” His 320 career tackles were the most in school history when he left Ohio State and now stand 11th-best in team history. Gradishar was a consensus first-team All-America selection in 1972 and a unanimous first-team All-America selection in 1973. Also in 1973, Gradishar finished sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.
Jack Tatum (1968-1970)—Tatum was first team All-Big Ten in 1968, 1969, and 1970. In ‘69 and ‘70 he was a unanimous All-American. In ‘70 he was selected as the National Defensive Player of the Year and was among the top vote-getters for the Heisman Trophy.
Antoine Winfield (1995-1998)—Winfield was awarded the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s best defensive back in 1998 and was selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. The 1998 Buckeyes were Big Ten Champions and defeated Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl 24-14. They finished No. 2 in both the Coaches' and AP Polls.
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