The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer.  Every Monday and Thursday, Jim will be announcing a new player.  Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th.  Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins.  To view the previous entries in our Top 25, click here.

Mike Doss (2000-2002)

They say that safety is the ‘quarterback’ of the defense, and no player epitomized this concept more than Mike Doss. A three time All American at strong safety, Doss was the heart and soul of Ohio State’s defense for three years. Without a doubt, Doss’ emotional decision to return for his senior year was the spark that started the national championship run in 2002.

Doss had an uncanny ability to make a huge play just when the team needed it the most. Against Michigan in 2001, in the National Championship game, and in many other close games, time after time Doss would haul in an interception or make a big play at a key moment that turned the momentum of the game.

If you watch highlights from teams that Mike Doss was a part of, it is remarkable how often Doss makes an appearance.

Beyond his leadership, his clutch play, and being the foundation of the belief that no matter what, the Buckeyes would win in the end, Doss hit like a Mack truck in run support. It is easy to make the argument that Doss was the best run support safety ever at Ohio State.

He led the team in tackles in 2000 and 2001, and is 11th all-time in total tackles at Ohio State. While this may seem unremarkable at first, the fact that he is the only non-linebacker in the top 20 gives you an idea of what kind of hitter he was.

Beyond the numbers, you just got the sense that Mike Doss made the team he was playing on better, period. His will to win was contagious, and it is easy to see that the never say die attitude of the 2002 team that allowed them to pull through in every heart-stopping close game largely came from Mike Doss.

Doss was drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He had an outstanding rookie season and several other solid years, but injuries have marred his NFL career and after bouncing around, he is currently not on an NFL roster.

For his three All-American seasons, for being the heart and soul of Ohio State’s defense, for his decision to return for his senior year that ultimately resulted in him leading the team to a national championship, for his clutch play that always sparked the team at just the right time, for his off the field work in the community, and for simply having the heart of a champion and blessing Ohio State and its fans by bringing that will to win to Columbus, Mike Doss is #3 on our countdown of the top 25 Buckeyes of the last decade.