1995 Lombardi Award Winner
1996 Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy Winner
Orlando Pace broke into the starting lineup the first day of preseason camp his freshman year and started every game the next three years before passing up his senior season to enter the NFL draft. During his stay at Ohio State, the 6-6, 330-pound left tackle became recognized as one of the most dominant offensive linemen ever to play the game.
Playing one of the most challenging positions in football, Pace did not allow a sack in either of his last two years. In 1995, he made college football history by becoming the first sophomore to win the Lombardi Award. As a junior, he again made history by becoming the first two-time winner of that trophy. He also won the Outland Trophy and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior. The latter was the highest finish by a lineman since a second-place finish by Ohio State’s John Hicks in 1973.
Other honors for Pace included consensus All-Big Ten and All-America honors in both 1995 and ’96. He was the Football News Offensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1996. He also received the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten.
Pace was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1994 and the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1995 and ’96. He also was a finalist for the Maxwell Award in 1996. A native of Sandusky, Ohio, Pace was selected by his teammates as Ohio State’s MVP in 1996.
Pace made the “Pancake Block” famous his junior year, finishing the season with 80 of those blocks (knocking his defender to the ground and on his back). He also literally redefined the role of an offensive lineman with his amazing downfield blocking.
Taken by St. Louis as first overall pick in the 1997 NFL draft, Pace was a member of the Rams’ 1999 Super Bowl championship team.