Written March 8th, 2012 by WVaBuckeye

This is part two in my series on who we should honor next in the retire or not to retire saga at THE Ohio State University. Last week I covered the basketball greats here. This week I am going to take a stab at football and really, for all intents and purposes, this should be called #Who2TheHorseshoeRafters. This can be done in a lot of ways but the “ring of Honor” has already started with the Heisman Trophy winners: Horvath, Janowicz, Hop Cassidy, Archie Griffin, Eddie George, along with Bill Willis’ #99 and Chic Harley’s #47.  We have to assume that Troy Smith’s #10 will be there soon, so this will give us a look at the rest of the candidates.

Lets begin with one of the most coveted awards outside of the Heisman Trophy. The Lombardi Award is awarded annually to the best lineman or linebacker. It has gone to Ohio State six times, with one of them winning it twice with Orlando Pace, at one time considered a no brainer for jersey retirement.  Jim Stillwagon won the first ever in 1970.

Jim Stillwagon had a nose for hitting - First Lombardi winner ever - Should 68 be up there?

1970 Jim Stillwagon    1973 John Hicks    1987 Chris Spielman

1995 and 96 Orlando Pace    2005 A.J. Hawk

Many believe he was the best LB in Ohio State history and should be up there

Next is the Maxwell Award, given to the top player in the country annually. Three of the four players who have won this award have jerseys already hanging from the walls. Bob Ferguson will go down as the greatest fullback to ever play at Ohio State. In both 1960 and 1961 Ferguson was a unanimous All-American selection. In 1961 he won the UPI College Football Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award, and was the runner up to Ernie Davis for the Heisman Trophy. The 1961 Heisman vote was the second closest in the history of the award, with Davis edging Ferguson by 53 points.

Best fullback to ever play at tOSU - Ferguson's uni should look familiar.

1955 Hop Cassidy   1961 Bob Ferguson

1975 Archie Griffin   1995 Eddie George

The Outland Trophy is an award that is rewarded to the best interior lineman in the nation, and Ohio State has had four players win this honor.  Jim Parker won it in 1956 and would have certainly won the Lombardi had it existed.  This would have given Ohio State a rare feat, as all four of their winners would have won both awards in the same year.

Considered one of the meanest to play - should 62 be up there?

1956 Jim Parker   1970 Jim Stillwagon

1973 John Hicks   1996 Orlando Pace

Mr. Pancake opened many holes for Pepe and Eddie - NO brainer he's up there

To me it seems very simple who we should honor on the interior lines. These four would be well deserving to be hung in the horseshoe.

The next task would be much more difficult. Honoring the skill players at Ohio State would take a lot of research by the committee and would be required to come up with an acceptable standard. The rest of the awards that honor these types of players are few and far between, but here we go.

First the football players who have been inducted into the College Football HOF. I have removed the players already mentioned and/or are already retired. And yes Wes Fesler was on the basketball list as well.

An All-American in Football AND Basketball, Fesler should be honored somewhere - if not in BOTH places

Wes Fesler – Gaylord Stinchcomb – Gust Zarnas – Jim Daniell

 Gomer Jones – Warren Amling – Randy Gradishar –  Jack Tatum

Jim Houston – Rex Kern

Other award winners that could be considered but not limited to are as follows.

maybe the most awarded of players - should 33 be up there?

Bilitnekoff  – Terry Glenn 1995

Lou Groza – Mike Nugent 2004

Butkus – Andy Katzenmoyer 1997 and James Laurinaitus 2007

Lott Trophy – James Laurinaitis 2008

Thorpe – Antoine Winfield 1998 and Malcolm Jenkins 2008

Rimington – Lecharles Bentley 2001

Davey O’Brien – Troy Smith 2006

Bronko Nagurski – James Laurinaitis 2007

Ray Guy – B.J. Sander 2003

Lowe’s Sr. Class – James Laurinaitis 2008

There you have it. The “list” of which to work from to make your decision of which jerseys could be hung in the “Ring of Honor” in the horseshoe. We welcome your comments and look forward to them.

 and remember . . .





  1. JimNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Let’s not get crazy here. All the players you mentioned were outstanding, but I don’t think any of them- outside of Troy Smith and any future Heisman winners- deserve to have their names put up in the stadium.

    Even the Heisman is becoming somewhat of a joke since it is exclusively given to the top QB or RB from the top team these days. The impact has definitely faded in my opinion.

    Awards in general are losing their significance in this day and age of ESPN driven hype affecting so many opinions.

    There is plenty of recognition for the great football players already at the WHAC, something that I don’t think the basketball team has done enough of at the Schott.

    That alone makes this a much different situation than pushing for some of the all-time great basketball players to get some much deserved recognition.


  2. cowboyNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    #68 is special. Gradishar’s also ?

    What was Lachey’s ?

    #36 no brainer. Marcus Marek’s # ? I know Speilman and Cousinieau wore it.


    JimNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Gradishar wore #53 at Ohio State.

    I’d rather see great linebackers at Ohio State continue to wear #36 and great tackles continue to wear #75 and the best athlete on the team continue to wear #7.

    That, in my opinion, is much cooler than having 30 numbers retired and hanging in the stadium.

    As I said, recognition for Ohio State’s great football players is well established at the WHAC and in the hearts and minds of fans, which makes this a completely different animal than the necessary push for recognition for the basketball greats.


    EricNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Technically, WVa is not asking for “retirement” per say. He’s suggesting names that should hang on the stadium in connection with their numbers, not that those numbers couldn’t be used.

    In fact, he’s suggesting a plan that’s a step beyond your cooler approach. I agree that having #75 for a great tackle, and #36 for a great linebacker is a great idea. All WVa’s suggestion does is enhance that a step by indicating why those numbers are important by showing on the stadium walls the great individuals in history who also bore those numbers and made them what they are.


    JimNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Good point, but once again, that is already done extensively in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center which is sufficient in my opinion.

    I personally don’t want to see 30 numbers up in the stadium, but that might just be me.

    I just don’t see the need for additional recognition for the football greats. It’s already there.

    Which is, once again, in stark contrast to the basketball greats. I fully support the drive to further recognize those players.


    EricNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Unfortunately, 105,000 people don’t usually see the inside of the WHAC – they do see the region around the stadium. There’s a reason why some names are better remembered than others.

    The WHAC is a great place to honor former players, and I’m not knocking it. WVa is simply suggesting an additional way to honor a few more and make the players currently wearing the numbers on the walls feel the history while they’re playing.


  3. RBNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    These award requests are getting out of hand. It’s like in children’s soccer where everyone gets an award. The award is playing at OSU and getting a free top notch education if wanted. The list might be shorter for those not getting an award.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    March 8th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Wait- everyone’s supposed to get an award for kid’s soccer?

    Crap… I must have really sucked.


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