Aug. 26, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio: All-America place-kicker Mike Nugent, tailback Lydell Ross, cornerback Dustin Fox and defensive end Simon Fraser have been selected by their teammates as captains of the 2004 Ohio State football team. Head Coach Jim Tressel made the announcement Thursday following practice.

“The team has selected four young men who understand what it means to be a captain at Ohio State,” said Tressel. “That was obvious from the moment they found out. All four are thrilled by the honor and will do a great job of representing this team.

“It was very clear from the voting that these four players had earned the respect and admiration of their teammates.”

All four players are seniors. Nugent (Centerville), Fox (Canton) and Fraser (Upper Arlington) are from Ohio. Ross is from Tampa, Fla.

Nugent won first-team All-America honors as a sophomore in 2002 and is the second leading scorer in Ohio State history with 254 points. The holder of 12 school records, he needs 95 points to surpass Pete Johnson as the most productive point producer in OSU history. He is the first kicker since Tom Skladany in 1976 to be named captain.

Ross, meanwhile, is the first tailback since Eddie George in 1995 to be elected captain. The 6-0, 225-pounder, who prepped at Tampa Gaither High School, will be in his first full year as a starter. He rushed for 826 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, leading the Buckeyes in both categories. As a 17-year-old freshman in 2001, Ross became the youngest player in Big Ten history to rush for 100 yards in a game, rolling up 124 yards at Indiana.

Fox, who twice won all-state honors at GlenOak High School, is the fourth member of his family to captain the Buckeyes, joining Mark Stier in1968 and Tim Fox and Ken Kuhn in 1975 in that select group. The hard-hitting defender has played in all 39 games the past three years and has made 28 consecutive starts. He led the team in solo tackles last year with 55.

Fraser, named to the preseason watch-list for the Ted Hendricks Award, is the lone returning starter from last year’s gifted defensive front which sent three players to the National Football League. The 6-6, 280-pound standout has played in 39 games with 14 starts and has 60 career tackles, including 16.5 tackles-for-loss and 7.5 sacks. Both of the latter figures are tops among returning players.

“We are all honored to join the ranks of the great captains who have played at Ohio State,” said Fraser. “Our goal now is to go out and help lead this team to a great season.”

NOTE: Coach Tressel has awarded scholarships to four (now former) walk-ons – punter Kyle Turano (Worthington Kilbourne), tailbacks Roshawn Parker (Columbus Eastmoor) and Michael DeMaria (Oregon Cardinal Stritch) and offensive tackle John McLaughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio, St. Ignatius High School). All four are fifth-year seniors.