Jan. 8, 2016


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tom Cousineau, the two-time consensus All-American linebacker for Ohio State in the late 1970s and the first Buckeye ever taken with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, has been selected as a 2016 College Football Hall of Fame inductee. The National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame revealed the class of 2016 today from Scottsdale, Ariz., site of the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday.

A four-year letterman — 1975-78 — for Woody Hayes’ teams that won three Big Ten Conference championships (outright, undefeated champions in 1975 at 8-0 and co-champions in 1976 and 1977), Cousineau will be part of a 14-player, two-coach class that will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame Dec. 6, 2016, at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

“I am stunned. I am humbled. And I am truly honored to be a part of this Hall of Fame class,” Cousineau said Friday from his home in Akron. “I know there are so many great, great players who will never see the College Football Hall of Fame. It is my understanding that it is really tough to get consensus with so many great players on the ballot, so the fact I have been elected into the Hall of Fame is a testament to the incredible teammates I was fortunate to play alongside and just wonderful news to receive. I am very appreciative and thankful for this honor.”

Cousineau recorded 569 tackles in his Ohio State career, a total that still ranks second on the school’s all-time charts. He also totaled the second-highest career totals for solo tackles (259) and assisted tackles (310), and had 20 or more tackles seven times during his career, including the still-standing school record 29 in 1978 vs. Penn State (Chris Spielman tied the mark with 29 tackles in a 1986 win over Michigan).

An additional five school records are still held by Cousineau: single season records for total tackles (211 in 1978), solo tackles (142 in 1978) and assisted tackles (102 in 1978); and single game records for solo tackles (16 vs. SMU in 1978 with Ryan Shazier tying it in 2013 vs. Indiana) and assisted tackles (20 vs. Penn State in 1978).

Cousineau was part of Ohio State teams that went 36-10-2 and 28-4 in the Big Ten, were three-time Big Ten champs and were selected to play in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl after each of the seasons he played. Ohio State was a Top 5 team for 36 weeks over these four years and the No. 1 team in the nation for eight weeks in 1975, and ultimately finished fourth, sixth and 12th in the final Associated Press polls in 1975, 1976 and 1977, respectively.

Ohio State playing day honors for Cousineau, who was from Fairview, Ohio and attended St. Edward High School, include his All-American accolades in 1977 and 1978; Ohio State team captain and team MVP honors in 1978; all-Big Ten Conference accolades in 1976-77-78; and Orange Bowl MVP (1977).

After graduating from Ohio State in 1979 with a degree in business marketing and journalism, Cousineau played 10 seasons of professional football, including six NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns (1982-85) and the San Francisco 49ers (1986-87). His pro career includes three years with Montreal of the Canadian Football League.

Cousineau, who was inducted into the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Silver Anniversary Butkus Award from that organization in 2003, lives in the Akron area with his wife, Lisa. The couple has two daughters: Kyle, a senior at John Carroll University, and Kasey, a freshman at Ohio State University.

Cousineau will be the 25th Buckeye player to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.