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.

Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells (2006-2008)

Beanie Wells was a big, bruising back who did not hesitate to run a defender over. He also had the speed and quickness to make a cut and be past the defender before they knew what happened. His elite combination of size and speed made him a once in a generation talent and one of the greatest backs ever at Ohio State.

Unfortunately, his bruising running style also led to his greatest weakness; injuries. Constant battles with health issues nagged Wells throughout his career, particularly during his junior season. These health problems led to some serious offensive struggles for Ohio State in his absence, and also prevented him from challenging for the title of greatest ever at Ohio State.

The other factor that prevented Beanie from climbing the ranks of greatest ever was his decision to turn pro after his junior season. He was drafted in the first round, and like all early entries that are drafted that high, you can’t argue with the results. Even though it was the right move for Beanie, leaving school with one year of eligibility left hurts his legacy. Fortunately for him, the only place that really matters is on lists like this one.

While it may seem sacrilegious to imagine a back passing Archie as the all time greatest at Ohio State, if Beanie had stayed healthy and in school for four years, it is very possible that he could have passed Archie in the record books and in the hearts of Ohio State fans. Throw in a national title or two with a 100% healthy Beanie in the backfield (we can dream) and the argument certainly could be made.

As it is, a shortened career due to injuries and an early departure to the NFL hurt Beanie’s legacy and his ranking on this list. Everything else about him makes the case that he belongs at the top.

The 2007 season is the crown jewel of Beanie’s career and the logical place to start when talking about his greatness.

With the fifth most carries (274) and the fourth most yards (1,609) in a season at Ohio State, Beanie had a year for the ages, and he was only a sophomore! Throw in two 200 yard rushing performances, second only to Eddie’s three in ’95, and the season becomes even more impressive.

Oh yeah, and one of those 200 yard games came against Michigan and was the greatest rushing performance ever for a Buckeye against the maize and blue. Looking back, it is easy to see why many fans began having thoughts of “greatest ever” heading into Beanie’s junior year in 2008.

An injury plagued 2008 and an early entry into the draft later and Ohio State fans are left with thoughts of what could have been.

What did happen was still pretty damn good. The fourth most career rushing yards (3,382), the fourth best rushing season (1,609), the third best career rushing yards per game (93.9), the third most 100 yard games (17)… Chris Wells had a helluva career at Ohio State.

As an awesome side note, Beanie had a rushing touchdown of 50+ yards against the maize and blue in three straight games. That fact won’t appear in any record books, but that is a feat that has never happened before and is extremely unlikely to ever occur again.

Beanie left after his junior season and was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He rushed for 793 yards (4.5 per carry) and 7 TDs as a rookie with Arizona, and looks to continue his promising young career this season.

For his stiff arm, for his outstanding 2007 season, and simply for being one of the best ever, Beanie Wells is #6 on our countdown of the top 25 buckeyes of the last decade.

26 Comments

  1. MikeNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 8:33 am

    “Stiff arm”. I’m trying to figure out what a “staff arm” would be.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    we just fired our editor

    if I had to guess, a “staff arm” would be an injury that Beanie suffered in a bowl game

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  2. IrricoirNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Hard to believe he is that low on the list. I do understand how him being injured and forgoing his senior season dropped him though. For being one of the best ever and only 6th best player in this decade is a little contradicting. Either way, I am glad he’s on the list.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    best ever… when he was on the field and healthy

    the ’07 and ’08 bowl games would have been completely different if he was on the field for the entire game, the outcome of those games certainly weren’t his fault alone, but the fact that he was MIA due to injury for parts of pretty much every big game he played in really hurts him here

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  3. TimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    That picture is awesome. Neither Wolverines nor referees were excluded from Wells’ bruising style.

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  4. JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    it also should be noted (and this is going to come up again) that there were only 7 points separating position 3-7 on this list, so they are relatively interchangeable

    one result in particular is probably a bit out of place, but we will get to that, the ballots have spoken and that is what we are going with

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  5. IrricoirNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Yeah, don’t think I am fussing. The results and placement are all subject to one’s perspective. I certainly see some points that you have made about him. I guess I see him through potential alone, minus the playing time and minus the injuries. I shouldn’t but he is a physical specimen.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    if anything I am the one that is a bit jaded, that highlight video was from his freshman and sophomore seasons… he was a sophomore or less in every one of those clips!

    can you imagine if he would have stayed healthy? I don’t even care if he stayed all four years, if he would have just stayed healthy it would have been epic

    having said I am a bit jaded, this poll is a compilation of five people’s top 25 ballots, so it’s not like I am in charge of the results or anything

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    southbaybuckeye_ITSNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    it’s titled “…beanie wells for Heisman”. Seeing that he only played 3 years all highlights would have to be from his first two seasons….

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    some people don’t pick up on things like that, I just wanted to make sure that people realized it

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    southbaybuckeye_ITSNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    totally.

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  6. IrricoirNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I could easily see him as the next Jim Brown. I didn’t watch him play but my father says he was the best. I thought Baryy Sanders was the best ever but a completely different runner, a finnesse runnner. Here is to hoping he has a healthy NFL Career. So far, is Eddie George considered our best RB ever in the NFL? I am only 33 so I have a limited knowledge.

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    southbaybuckeye_ITSNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I think Eddie’s been our best, but I am younger than you so my frame of reference is different from others.

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  7. Palm Beach BuckeyeNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    RB Rankings
    1,2,3, Archie Griffin

    4,5 Eddie George

    6-10 Anybody else. In my opinion, Beanie NEVER lived up to the hype. His abscence cost OSU games (remember him taking himself out of the bowl game vs Texas. He played his worst games against the worst opponents (YSU)…..

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    southbaybuckeye_ITSNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    YSU, injurred(toe/foot obv.)

    Texas concussion

    say what you want about “toughness” but all the guys that played through concussions back in the day are either dead, cant eat solid food anymore or can’t remember where they are.

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  8. IrricoirNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    True. I hated the fact that he got injured so much. I think he, like me, has had a perpetual black cloud following him around. I think he has a lot of potential at the pro level. INjuries ahve always been the main question. That stiff arm is a major weapon and he looked really elusive in his pro highlights. (Don’t watch the pros much, and don’t get Cardinals coverage.)

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  9. BrianNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I don’t neccessarily think we can knock Beanie too much for those injuries, especially considering he played much of his sophomore season with a pretty serverly injured wrist. The turf toe or foot thing he had, it’s fine to laugh at or say he’s not tough but that shit hurts if you’ve ever had it you know. Can’t do much about a concussion in the Texas game. For total athleticism and the combo of speed and power, he is definitely the best back to play at Ohio State in my lifetime of watching. Perhaps Maurice Clarett may have been too. It’s funny that I see the 2 most gifted running backs in OSU history as 2 other guys kind of role their eyes about.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I don’t think the reaction is rolling of eyes, more like shaking of heads at the lost oppurtunities

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  10. BrianNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    As for OSU RB’s in the NFL, I thought Eddie George definitely was the best. Didn’t have have 5 or 6 years in the NFL where he was basically a beast? I know he was really good for a pretty nice stretch of seasons.

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    southbaybuckeye_ITSNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    When he came in with the then Houston Oilers(still love those unis) until after the super bowl loss to the rams he was pretty consistant.

    I don’t count his season or two with the cowboys at all.

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    JimNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    he was the offensive rookie of the year and broke 1,000 yards rushing in 7 of 9 seasons in the league, including 5 straight seasons of 1,200 or more yards from 1996 through 2000

    #23 on the all time rushing list right now

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  11. BrianNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I remember at one point there was something about him being in pretty select company for the yards per year he had for his first 5 seasons. I don’t remember specfics but I saw that he had more than 10,000 yards rushing. He like many RB’s faded fast, but that’s just the nature of the position.

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  12. IrricoirNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I think Eddie was one of the best from OSU but if Beanie stays healthy he posseses all the capabilities that Eddie had. I think Eddie was probably faster. I think they both have pop and great vision. Eddie didn’t have the stiff arm though. So, I am rooting for Beanie. I still love the Beanie versus Eddie bowl game interviews. Thats was some funny stuff. “Yeah, I respect the long line of Buckeye greats at running back, Griffith, Smith, Pittman, and I think that’s all of them”-Beanie Wells. LOL

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  13. BuckeyeSkiNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Stiff Arm of Justice

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  14. el KaiserNo Gravatar
    August 12th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I just stopped by to make sure the Stiff Arm of Justice was well-represented (thank you BuckeyeSki) and to say that Beanie is the real Akron Hammer and possibly my favorite offensive Buckeye EVER.

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  15. borderguardNo Gravatar
    August 23rd, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Beanie will always be underated due to the injuries and his short career at OSU. Had he played his senior year he may have been considered the best tailback OSU has ever had.
    One thing is for sure he dominated Michigan like no other TB ever at OSU, his TD run in 2006 was unreal.

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