A statement from Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel on the passing of Buckeye Hall of Famer Jack Tatum today:
“We have lost one of our greatest Buckeyes. When you think of Ohio State defense, the first name that comes to mind is Jack Tatum. His loss touches every era of Ohio State players and fans.”
From 1968-70, Jack Tatum was one of the dominant defensive players and most intimidating forces in college football during his career at Ohio State. A three-year starter, a two-time All-American and the national Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, he was known for his tenacity and fierce style of play.
The 6-1, 208-pound Tatum came to Ohio State as a running back, but moved to defense in the spring of his freshman year. He was a mainstay of the defense for the next three seasons as OSU rolled up a 27-2 record and won the 1968 national championship, two Big Ten titles and played in two Rose Bowls.
The Oakland Raiders selected him in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft. In his nine-year career, he was named to the Pro Bowl three times and was a member of the 1976 Super Bowl champion Raiders. He was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.