Top 25 Buckeyes of the Decade: #25 Matt Wilhelm

Written May 10th, 2010 by Jim

Matt Wilhelm (2000-2002)

Wilhelm had a knack for attacking, wracking up the second most tackles for loss for a linebacker in Ohio State history (behind Katzenmoyer).

Matt Wilhelm checks in at number 25 on our countdown of the top players of the decade.

He was an All-American and All-Big Ten performer in 2002 and was one of the leaders on the dominating defense that helped lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship.

Wilhelm led the team in tackles in 2002 with 121, but perhaps more impressively, he had 19.5 tackles for loss that year, good for the 6th best season in Ohio State history.

Being in the backfield characterized Wilhelm as a player. He was always attacking, always in the backfield, and even if he didn’t make the tackle, he was going to hit someone or something to disrupt the offense.

Wilhelm had a way of punishing quarterbacks, most memorably Ken Dorsey in the Fiesta Bowl, I couldn't find a picture of that but this gives you an idea of what it was like standing in the pocket during a Wilhelm blitz.

Wilhelm also has the 6th most career tackles for loss at Ohio State with 43.5, showing that his aggressive style of play was his signature throughout his three years starting at middle linebacker.

He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, and is currently active with the San Francisco 49ers.

For his All-American and All-Big Ten season in 2002 and his key role on the national championship defense, as well as an ultra-aggressive style of play that made him one of my personal favorite Buckeyes of the decade, Matt Wilhelm earned his spot at number 25 on our countdown.


  1. Eric@theBBCNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Wilhelm was such a beast. I’m sure the memories of his approach still haunt many of the former Big Ten QB’s to this day.


    JimNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I always get a laugh when Dorsey tries to get up several times only to fall back down after Wilhelm crushed him in the Fiesta Bowl, good times.

    I would like to see Rolle play with the kind of disruptive fire that Wilhelm had in the middle, Rolle showed flashes last year, but the fact that Wilhelm was 6’5″ really set him apart in his ability to dominate the middle.


    MikeNo Gravatar
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Jim thanks for reminding me about that one. MAN was that Dorsey a punk. I just found the video footage of that hit he made and watched it about a dozen times. One of his best pieces of work.

    One of my favorites was while in the stands for Penn State or Purdue that year, can’t remember exactly. Anyhow in the opening drive of the other team Matt levels the receiver on a screen pass right at the sideline and sends the guy head over heals easily ten years out of bounds. I mean I thought the dude was going to take out the gates around the walking track. Beautiful thing it was !!


  2. southbaybuckeyeNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I wish he was still with the Chargers…..


  3. Ian_InsideTheShoeNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Favorite moment of Wilhelm’s: Sack of Ken Dorsey, and then the humping of the air right after. All of those defensive Buckeyes that year were BAMF’S.


  4. BuckeyeSkiNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Wilhelm’s entire game against the Illini in ’02 stands out to me for some reason….he was a beast that game (every game for that matter)


  5. KenNo Gravatar
    May 10th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Yeah, Wilhem was quite the destroyer in his day in scarlet & gray.


  6. NorCal BuckeyeNo Gravatar
    May 11th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Not only was it awesome to watch him do battle against “The U” in January 03, but it was even more awesomer to get my Fiesta Bowl ticket signed by him at CMH after the flight back. He was sitting a couple rows up, quite uncomfortably due to the incompatibility of size between the he and his seats. Quite friendly and humble fellow.


  7. Super Bowl Sunday- Why I’m A Packer Backer « The Buckeye Battle Cry
    February 5th, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    [...] the Pack are loaded. Ryan Pickett, A.J. Hawk, and Matt Wilhelm anchor the defense, which is led by former Buckeye secondary coach Dom [...]

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