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10 Former Stars Who Couldn't Start Today

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IAugust 26, 2011

10 Former Stars Who Couldn't Start Today

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    Ohio State's football history is just as rich as almost any one school in college football history.

    The school has put out countless NFL players and produced multiple football championships, including Division I's first 14-0 season in 2002 with the national championship.

    But how do those legendary players stack up against the team that Ohio State has now, even with the turnover the roster has to overcome due to NCAA problems?

    The Buckeyes return only about half of their starters from a year ago, including just four on defense.

    That doesn't necessarily mean some former stars, both from the old days and even the recent era, would start on this team.

    Here are 10 that might not start on this team for different, varying reasons.

1. TE Rickey Dudley

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    Considering how Ohio State has not exactly been a factory of great tight ends, Rickey Dudley was quite a revelation.

    The former first-round pick in 1996 of the Oakland Raiders caught 221 passes for over 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns in his professional career.

    And while he is certainly a great talent at TE, Ohio State already has a great one-two punch at TE in the athletic Jake Stoneburner and the tall Reid Fragel.

    Stoneburner is an absolute mismatch with his size and speed, and Fragel at 6'8'' is a great weapon in the red zone.

    While Dudley would be good on this football team, Ohio State would not need him with Stoneburner and Fragel doing just fine.

2. C Nick Mangold

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    This may be a touchy topic because obviously both Nick Mangold and current center Mike Brewster are both talented players.

    Mangold might be the best center in the NFL but Brewster has the ability to be just as good.

    Mangold may be a more physical blocker, but Mike Brewster is very athletic and cerebral, which makes him a very good center.

    The senior Brewster no doubt can be a first round pick this year, and can be just as good as Mangold is in New York.

3. FB Jim Otis

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    Jim Otis was one of the staples of possibly the best team in Ohio State history with their magical 1968 season, headlined by the infamous 50-14 win over Michigan.

    Otis had three touchdowns in the game and was one of the most talented backs that doesn't seem to get the credit that he deserves.

    Unfortunately, the way the game has changed, you never see impact fullbacks very often if at all. Occasionally you get players like Peyton Hillis and Jacob Hester, big backs that line up as the RB.

    That isn't to say Otis wouldn't be a good player. He just wouldn't have the impact in the modern era of spread offenses that he did in the power formations often seen in the late 1960s.

4. WR Michael Jenkins

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    It's tough to imagine a receiver in recent years more clutch than Michael Jenkins, especially when it comes to the Buckeyes and the 4th down in overtime of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.

    Jenkins' clutch play was a huge reason why Ohio State won the national title behind an excellent defense and an offense that only passed when they needed to pass.

    While Jenkins was no doubt a great receiver, his skills seem easily matched by DeVier Posey.

    Posey might be a more fluid receiver, although he his not as clutch as Jenkins or as consistent with regards to his hands.

    But Jenkins and Posey seem interchangeable, and if Posey develops more consistency with his catches, Posey would probably start over Jenkins.

5. Chris Gamble (only at WR)

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    Chris Gamble is a great corner and he would definitely start over Travis Howard at corner, so let's examine him as a wideout.

    Gamble is a smaller type of receiver, more reliant on speed and quickness, and he is a good complement to receivers like Posey and Jenkins.

    But Gamble as a wideout would have a hard time fitting in with OSU's current complement of WRs who are mostly smaller, faster guys including Corey Brown, Devin Smith and Verlon Reed.

    Former Stanford FB/LB Owen Marecic may be the last of a dying breed of two-way players in modern college football.

    That's why Gamble would not start at WR instead of at DB, where he is currently one of the highest paid DBs in the NFL.

6. T Jim Marshall

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    Most people know Jim Marshall for the infamous "Wrong Way" play, but he was a very talented defensive lineman both at Ohio State and for the Minnesota Vikings.

    Marshall was one of the great defensive linemen in the Woody Hayes era for Ohio State football.

    But would he fit in with the defensive line Ohio State has now led by star players Johnny Simon and Nathan Williams?

    Odds are he might not be able to match their production as both are bigger and faster than Marshall was in his college days, and the tackles in this era are much larger than they used to be.

    While Marshall was a very good tackle for Ohio State, he might fall behind the depth that Ohio State has all over its line.

7. QB Cornelius Greene

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    Cornelius Greene was the first African-American QB for Ohio State, later paving the way for dual-threat studs in Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and the polarizing Terrelle Pryor.

    The MVP of the 1974 Rose Bowl and the 1975 Big Ten MVP, Greene was a very good QB in the late parts of the Woody Hayes era.

    Despite Greene's successes, his chance of starting in this year's QB race would be very questionable.  He he would have to beat both Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller, who may be among the most athletically-skilled QBs OSU has had (although that is mainly based on high school highlights and potential).

    Greene's skills might not translate well to this era of football where the speed of the average athlete is much faster than it was 35 years ago. 

    Plus Miller's athleticism almost matches Greene's, but the former seems to have a really high ceiling, making Greene unlikely to win the QB starting job if he were on the roster this season.

8. RB Maurice Clarett

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    There may be no more controversial and polarizing player in Ohio State football history than Maurice Clarett. 

    But in his one year of football, he showed what he could be and that made his fall much more tragic when he was declared ineligible after only one year.

    Even if he reached his potential, he would have to compete with a backfield where four backs, including suspended senior Dan "Boom" Herron, would start for almost any team in the country.

    If only we knew what could have been because we only have one year to compare his only year of play to what Ohio State's current backfield looks like.

9. DB Ahmed Plummer

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    Ohio State had a large influx of talented corners in the 1990s from Shawn Springs to Ahmed Plummer and probably the best of them all in the 1990s, Antoine Winfield.

    No disrespect to Plummer, but Springs and Winfield were in classes of their own when it comes to elite college corners.

    Plummer was an excellent shutdown corner, but current No. 1 Travis Howard has the chance to be as good as any corner that Ohio State has produced in the last 20 years.

    He doesn't have the physicality of Winfield or the instincts of a Malcolm Jenkins, but he has the speed and size to be as good as anyone.

    Howard's breakout second half in 2010 was as good as any cornerback. While Plummer was one of the best OSU has had without question, Howard's momentum and pure athleticism of Bradley Roby and Dominic Clarke might have made it tough for Plummer to crack into the starting lineup. 

10. Vic Janowicz (as RB)

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    While this may be the closest this list gets to bordering on historical blasphemy, Vic Janowicz will always be remembered as being the ultimate iron-man.

    He was a great halfback, punter and safety, plus he also was a good passer and blocker in the eyes of Woody Hayes.

    The 1950 Heisman Trophy winner, Janowicz was no doubt the heart and soul of the Buckeyes in their final year before Woody Hayes arrived in Columbus.

    But as mentioned earlier, Ohio State is loaded with four backs that could potentially start at a large portion of schools in FBS football.

    The other thing at work is that the game has changed dramatically over the past 61 years. The players are bigger and faster than they used to be. The attrition from game-to-game, especially with the mandatory 12-game schedule, makes the comparisons from old-school football to the present-day seem very difficult to make.

    Those reasons make it a difficult argument for Janowicz to start for Ohio State if he were playing in 2011.

     

    For more college football news and updates, visit The BCS Blitz and follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim.

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