I was looking at the Ohio State football career stats leaders today, trying to come up with a story to write about Buckeyes history. So many memories came back from names that I had half forgotten. I decided to make a list of great players that I have watched play for the Scarlet and Gray that, while not forgotten, probably should be talked about more often.
This list is not comprehensive, nor is it in any particular order, just the random musings of a of a fan reminiscing. If any of you fans of the vastly inferior teams, aka the rest of the B1G, want to include a list of players from your terrible teams that probably should have been forgotten, but you are mad about it anyway, the comments section is the place for you!
While football and life was new to me in the early 80s and 90s, I remember the absolute dread from some of the Buckeye fans that were just coming off the Woody Hayes era. “Ohio State returns to the Rose Bowl after a FIVE YEAR ABSENCE.”, they said in 1984. (It would be 13 for the next one, for those scoring at home. However, there were plenty of great players on those 9-3 teams. Of course people remember Tim Spencer, but it seems to me as much for his coaching and kid as his playing days. He still ranks 4th all time for the team in rushing yards. John Frank was a great tight end for the Buckeyes before becoming a Super Bowl winner with the 49ers, and Guard William Roberts got his ring (I think, memory is fuzzy) with the Giants. However, if I am going to pick a guy from that era, it would be Marcus Marek. He is partially forgotten because he didn’t have an NFL career, however he is still the all time leader in tackles for the Buckeyes.
The late 80s and early 90s were truly a dark time in Ohio State history, as we moved on from Earle Bruce into the Cooper era, but it was stocked full of great players,. Zach Dumas remains in my memory from this hit, but I want to focus on the running backs from that team. Carlos Snow, Scottie Graham and Dante Lee. It seemed like every game, 2 of them would have 100 yards, with the third right behind. Lee and Snow didn’t have pro careers, but Graham was a solid running back for the Minnesota Vikings. Another great back around that time was Vince Workman. However, I am going to pick Snow from this era, because his injury plagued career was still impressive, and he had a great kick return that set the wheels in motion for the epic comeback against the Gophers.
John Cooper had talent in the 90s. He finished second in the country twice, yet his era is largely seen as a failure. Partly due to his Michigan record, but also because of the loaded teams he had. Dimitrious Stanley was the MVP of that Rose Bowl in 1997, again if memory serves me, but didn’t have a pro career. Steve Tovar was a huge linebacker, again not in the forefront of memories because of a lack luster career. I am going to pick a personal favorite of mine, Raymont Harris from this era, though I could literally go on for days.
It’s too early to call any of the people from this century forgotten, however I will say that Chris Gamble, and his switch to corner, should be the main focus of discussion of the 2002 team. Without that, I don’t believe that team wins the championship.