Looking at the Buckeyes in the College Football Hall of Fame

During the off-season football season (especially long after college basketball has ended), we turn our fans’ attention to employment news (and rumors). There’s a lot going on, including the Buckeyes getting a commitment from five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola in the 2024 class.

I’m sure that, in Raiola’s case, he was influenced by the wide open attack, Ohio State’s top-ranking and quarterback/receiver training for Ryan Day and Brian Hartline. He must be excited to be a part of this success.

Recruiters also look at facilities, campuses, academic programs, and reputation. High school students are stunned by the number of national and convention championships, Heisman Award recipients, and all-Americans. Recruits care about how they get along with coaches and other players. How does the program “feel”? But everyone who is recruited into a program like Ohio State also looks beyond college and is looking forward to a career in professional football.


The Buckeyes sell their program’s ability to place players in the NFL by citing recent NFL drafts, the number of former Buckeyes currently in the league, and outstanding professional careers for professional players at OSU. Incidentally, there is a former $10 (one of whom is NFL Films CEO Ed Sabol) in the Professional Football Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio, ranking behind Notre Dame and Southern Cal with 13 each, and TTUN, which has 11.

During this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, there was a Wendy commercial aired roughly every four minutes, in which relaxed Reggie Miller corrects a young Wendy employee making Miller’s introduction. Miller has added “Hall of Famer” to the list of awards. Hall of Fame: It’s important to the players – and the recruits.

And as we know, there is the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, as well as the Professional Hall. How many Buckeyes are in college H of F? 26. The same Michigan number and way behind Southern Cal’s 31 and Notre Dame’s 45. The top ten is somewhat surprising. Oklahoma and Alabama are in the top ten — but just barely. Both teams lead Monsters of the East, Yale and Princeton, with Pete also in the top ten. I’m even too young to remember the Ivy League programs winning national championships or the song “Champions of the West” in a Big Ten fight song makes sense.

Keith Byars was the last to recruit Buckeye, as he was part of the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 dual class that officially joined the auditorium in December 2021. High school sophomores and juniors may not know Byars, but, if they’re considering OSU, It will be soon enough. Using the Hall of Famers as examples, Ohio can boast numbers and quality as they enhance fame and glory (as well as the potential for future fortunes).


So, who are these 26? I knew about most of them, although some of the airline’s first men–Gummer Jones, Ghost Zarnas, Warren Ampling–didn’t ring any bells. It was interesting to me, when I contemplated the illustrious roster, which positions the Hall of Famers played. Of the 26 total, 21 have truly made the hall based on their offensive play. (Yes, I realize that many players, even in the 1950s, played on both sides of the ball.)

Nine of the offensive players were linemen. Two more are categorized as terminals, although I’m not sure we’ll call them “receivers” today. Jim Houston might qualify as a tight end these days, but he probably played at least as defensive end as the offensive end, where he was basically a blocker, and another lineman who qualified for the pass. Wes Wessler played several positions and had a long and distinguished coaching career. Horvath and Rex Kern aren’t the only players recruited to Buckeye’s squad (but I expect to see others recruited in the next decade, or so).

Running backwards is the stance that stands out, and so do the names. We all know them (almost): Keith Pearce, Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, Bob Ferguson, Eddie George, Archie Griffin, Chick Harley, Vic Janowicz. and Gaylord Stinchcombe, who carried the ball for the Bucks from 1917-1920. There is no doubt to me that the ratio of running to brokers and recipients illustrates two facts: 1). That Ohio State has historically been more of a running team than a passing team and 2) the offensive game has changed drastically in the past 20 years. Speaking of twenty years, there is a long time between the years of a player’s collective career and the year of H of F. In the case of Pierce, for example, he played 1982-1985 and was recruited in 2020.


Crossing the line of scrimmage and looking at five defensive players, the linebacker shocked us. Jack Tatum, one of my all-time favorite Buckeyes, is the only defensive linebacker in the Hall of Fame, and Jim Stillwagon is the only defensive lineman. strange.

It’s possible that the three linebackers were still making the opposing fullback earthquake. He played Randy Gradychar and Tom Cousino in the 1970s, and Chris Spellman was one of the Buckeyes in the following decade. Again, note the interval until extrapolation, with Gradishar being elected to the Hall in 2001, Spielman in 2009, and Cousino in 2016. With this delay in mind, we might hope to see the likes of AJ Hawk, Andy Katzenmoyer, James win. Laurentius, Ryan Shazier, Matt Wilhelm, Daron Lee, Rickwon Macmillan or Rick Middleton are elected into the hall. Back line yo?

Looking at all of these linebackers brings to mind current Buckeye players. Will any of them join the ranks of these Buckeye creatures? Indeed, who will be the next recruit in Ohio?

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