In 1974, Ohio State tailback Archie Griffin became just the fifth junior ever to win the Heisman Trophy. In 1975, Griffin became the first player ever to win a second Heisman. Twenty-eight years later he is still the only player to have two of the coveted bronze statues, which go annually to the nation’s top college football player.
But even though more than two decades have passed, honors continue to befall Griffin now the President of the Ohio State Alumni Association.
Most recently, Griffin was selected to the National High School Hall of Fame. He was inducted into that organization in the fall of 1996. He also is a member of the National Football Foundation and the Rose Bowl halls of fame and, of course, belongs to the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Griffin was the Buckeyes’ starting tailback for four years, leading Ohio State to a 40-5-1 record and four Big Ten titles between 1972 and 1975. He started in four-consecutive Rose Bowls, the only player ever to do so, and was a three-time first-team All-American.
At 5 feet 9 inches and 180 pounds, Griffin was small by college football standards even then, but he played with the heart of a lion and no football accomplishment was beyond his reach.
In just the second game of his freshman year, Griffin ran for a school record 239 yards. It was the start of a brilliant career that would see him amass an OSU record 5,589 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Excluding bowl games, Griffin rushed for 5,177 yards on 845 carries. The former figure ranks him fifth among all NCAA career ball carriers and Griffin rarely played more than half a game, his coach, Woody Hayes, always opting to take his star out as soon as the Buckeyes were in control.
Between his sophomore and senior seasons, Griffin ran for 100 or more yards in 31 consecutive regular-season games. That, too, is still an NCAA record, as is his 33 career 100-yard games.
In addition to two Heisman Trophies, Griffin also has a pair of Silver Footballs. The latter award is presented annually by the Chicago Tribune to the Big Ten’s MVP. He is one of just three players to win that award twice. Griffin also was a two-time pick as National Player of the Year by both United Press International and the Walter Camp Foundation. He won those honors as a junior and senior.
Following his senior year, Griffin, who graduated a quarter early with a degree in industrial relations, received the NCAA’s prestigious Top Five Award for combined excellence in athletics, academics and leadership. It is the highest award the NCAA can bestow.
After graduation, Griffin was a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals. He played eight years of professional football, before returning to Columbus and joining the staff at Ohio State.
His jersey number “45” was retired Oct. 30, 1999.