11) Chic Harley
Harley was Ohio State’s first three-time All-American, and he led the Buckeyes to a dominant 21-1-1 stretch during his time at the school. He helped the Buckeyes win their first Big Ten championship in 1916 and was key in Ohio State’s first-ever victory over Michigan. The Shoe is the house that Harley built, so he has to be on this list!
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There are hard-hitters, and then there’s Jack Tatum! Tatum was named an All-American during his final two seasons and was the national Defensive Player of the Year in 1970. He helped the Buckeyes pile up a 27-2 record from 1968 to 1970, including two national championships (’68, ’70).
9) Chris Spielman
Spielman was a tackling machine; he led Ohio State in that category in each of his final two seasons. He registered an incredible 546 tackles during his four years in Columbus, and his 283 career solo tackles still rank No. 1 in Buckeyes history.
Spielman collected All-Big Ten honors in his final three seasons and was named an All-American in his final two. In 1987, he won the Lombardi Award as the nation’s best linebacker or lineman. Spielman is still a fan favorite in Columbus because of the heart and soul he played with.
Horvath started at running back during the ’42 season, leading Ohio State to its first-ever national championship. Then, after taking a year off in 1943, Horvath returned to the Buckeyes and piled up 1,268 total yards on his way to winning the program’s first Heisman Trophy.
7) Vic Janowicz
Janowicz’s most memorable all-around performance came in an 83-21 demolition of Iowa in 1950, when he threw for four touchdowns, ran for two more, and converted a then-Ohio State record 10 extra points. That season, he accounted for 875 total yards of offense and 16 touchdowns, becoming Ohio State’s second Heisman Trophy winner.
Elliott finished his career at Ohio State on several leaderboards. He was second in career rushing yards with 3,961 yards per game with 101.6 (both behind only Archie Griffin), had the second and third most rushing yards in a season, and five of the top 20 rushing yards in a game. His 43 rushing touchdowns were fourth-most all-time, and his 23 in 2015 was third-most in a season. His twelve 100-yard rushing games in the 2015 season tied Eddie George for a school record, and the 22 he amassed over his career was again second only to Griffin (as was his streak of 15 consecutive 100-yard games from 2014–2015). He and George are the only Ohio State players with five 200-yard rushing games.
5) Howard Cassady
Cassady, a two-way player, was the heart and soul of the Ohio State team from 1952 to 1955, thriving in his role as the team’s top running back and a shutdown defensive back. He piled up 4,403 all-purpose yards during his career, an Ohio State record that stood for 27 years.
His all-around play earned him numerous awards. He guided the Buckeyes to a national championship in 1954 and was a two-time All-American. In his final season in 1955, he won the Heisman Trophy and was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year.
4) Eddie George
After a brilliant four-year career, George ranked second all-time in career rushing yards (3,768) while setting the benchmark for rushing yards in a season (1,927) and rushing yards in a game (314). In addition, he collected an impressive amount of hardware during his senior season, as he won the Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards in addition to the Heisman Trophy in 1997.
Carter was quite simply the greatest receiver in Buckeyes history. Carter caught 164 passes for 2,725 yards and 27 touchdowns. His hands were exceptional, his route running was precise, his ability to stay in-bounds was uncanny, and he possessed the ability to out-jump his defenders. He made the diving, leaping, acrobatic catch look routine. In 1985, Carter set a Rose Bowl record with nine receptions for 172 yards. In 1986, Carter put together one of the great seasons in OSU annals with 69 receptions for 1,127 yards.
Pace is the greatest offensive lineman the Buckeyes have ever had. From 1994 to 1996, Pace anchored Ohio State’s dominant offensive line, starting at left tackle in each game of his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. He became the first sophomore ever to win the Lombardi Award in 1995, and a year later, he won the award again. Those awards coincided with consensus first-team All-American honors in his final two seasons. Pace, as an offensive lineman, actually finished 4th in Heisman voting in his final season.
He made an immediate impact at Ohio State. During Griffin’s freshman season, he rushed for a single-game school-record 231 rushing yards in a marquee nonconference matchup against North Carolina, which was the launching point for an incredible career. During his four seasons in Columbus, he ran for 5,589 yards—a benchmark that has stood for 40 years. Griffin won back-to-back Heisman trophy and helped the Buckeyes go 40 wins in his 4 seasons, including 4 Big Ten Championships and 4 Rose Bowl appearances.
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