April 3, 2020

Seven Buckeyes Tabbed As Best to Wear Their Numbers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seven legendary Ohio State football names were among those chosen in a recent article by The Athletic as the best in college football history to wear their respective jersey numbers.

The Buckeyes represented collectively won three Heisman Trophies (No. 45 Archie Griffin and No. 40 Howard “Hopalong” Cassady) and 11 other major national awards. Fans would also be hard-pressed to find a more punishing offensive line-running back combination than that of No. 62 Jim Parker, No. 74 John Hicks and No. 75 Orlando Pace paving the way for Griffin, Cassady and No. 46 Bob Ferguson. And the defense is represented by merely one of the greatest linebackers in college football history – No. 53 Randy Gradishar, a two-time All-American and 1998 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

The criteria used to create the list started with the top individual honor in the sport: Heisman Trophy winners. It then went to consensus first-team All-Americans and College Football Hall of Fame inductees. Ohio State is tied for the most Heisman winners (seven), the only two-time winner (Griffin), and 25 players enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame (Keith Byars, who is a part of the Class of 2020, will be the 26th).

A deeper look inside the numbers reveals just how impressive this group is:

  • Three of the players on the list – Hicks, Griffin and Gradishar – finished in the top six of the 1973 Heisman Trophy voting. Ohio State is the only school in the country to achieve that – and it has done it twice (in 1973 and 2019)!
  • Griffin, Cassady and Ferguson combined to rush for 10,125 yards while scoring 86 touchdowns during their respective careers.
  • Gradishar’s 320 career tackles ranks 12th all-time in program history and he was able to pull off an impressive double play as an All-American both athletically and academically in 1973.
  • Four of Ohio State’s 21 all-time Chicago Tribune Silver Footballs were won by this group.
  • Although many of the individual Big Ten awards pre-date six of the seven players, Orlando Pace is second all-time in program history with five major conference awards.
  • All seven players were multiple All-American selections.

The Buckeyes’ seven representatives on the list are the most of any Big Ten school. Nebraska had the second-most with five. The only team nationally with more selections was Notre Dame, which had eight.