Today, our series profiles one of the all time greats that ever wore an Ohio State uniform, none other than Jack Tatum.
Tatum was born in North Carolina but grew up in Passaic, NJ. Jack was a bit of a late bloomer, not beginning to play football until his sophomore year. The late start didn’t seem to hurt his capabilities as he played running back and fullback as well as defensive back. He played well enough to be named first-team All-State, as well as a high school All American his senior year.
Woody Hayes recruited Tatum as a fullback, but assistant coach Lou Holtz talked Hayes into switching Tatum to defensive back during Tatum’s freshman season. So keep that in mind the next time you see Lou on TWWL.
Jack Tatum came to OSU as part of the Super Soph class. He was first team all Big Ten in 1968, 1969 and 1970. In 1969 and 1970 he was a unanimous All American and also named the National Defensive Player of the Year in 1970. Tatum helped lead the Buckeyes to a 27-2 record in his three seasons as a starter, with one national championship win in 1968, Tatum’s first season with the team. In his three games against TSUN, Jack’s teams went 2-1.
We continue our series profiling Ohio State College Football Hall of Famers this week with class of 2006 inductee Jim Houston. A two time MVP and All-American, Houston was one of the most versatile players in Ohio State history. And one of the winningest players ever from the great state of Ohio. Not only was he a national champion, but a high school state champion and an NFL champion with the Cleveland Browns.
Here is a closer look at Massillon native Jim Houston.
There is no doubt that Jim Houston came from an athletic family. After all, he and all three of his brothers ended up playing college football. He and two of those siblings went on to play professional football. Growing up in Massillon, Houston played for Paul Brown in high school and was part of a family that had nine kids. A 1954 state champion, Houston was cut his 7th grade year, despite having two brothers in the college game and his oldest brother playing in the NFL. Evn those credentials can’t prevent you from making a team when you are a runt that ways just 70 pounds. He would bounce back in 8th and 9th grade and make the move from halfback to tackle. It would pay off after a state championship his junior season and being named an All-Ohioan his senior year.
It was at that time that Woody Hayes started making his way to the Houston household. Jim’s older brother Lin had played at Ohio State and won a national championship, but his two other brothers Walt and Jack played at Purdue. Both teams recruited him heavily according to Jim, but it was no contest. Hayes not only made an impression on the young athlete, but on his mother too. So when Boilermaker coaches made their way to the Houston residence they didn’t stay long, because mother made it clear he wasn’t interested by telling coaches he was going to Ohio State. The relatively new head coach (begin in 1951) had a vision of winning a National Championship and saw Houston as a future leader on the field. He would become a huge part of a championship program under Hayes in his four years on campus.
In today’s profile OSU College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at John Hicks, Hall of Fame Class of 2001.
The Cleveland, OH native won the starting right tackle job as a sophomore. Due to a knee injury, Hicks missed his sophomore year, but returned to play two astounding seasons in 1973-74. During his three (playing) years, Ohio State posted a 28-3-1 record, and each year, Ohio State won the conference championship, going to the Rose Bowl. Hicks became the 1st Buckeye to play in three Rose Bowls, most notably the 1974 Ohio State win over USC.
Statistics and Honors
1972 – All-Big Ten, All-American
1973 – All-Big Ten, All-American
1973 – Lombardi Award
1973 – Outland Trophy
2001 – Collegiate Football Hall of Fame
2009 – Rose Bowl Hall of Fame
Post Ohio State
John Hicks was drafted in the 1st round by the NY Giants, and played four years. After leaving football, Hicks transitioned from football field to finance field, eventually starting his commercial real estate development company in Columbus in 2000, The John Hicks Company.
This is a good profile for me; John Hicks is a contemporary of mine. There have been quite a few excellent offensive linemen that have played at Ohio State, in my memory beginning with Mayes/Foley. John Hicks has kept the progression alive. I remembered Hicks as not an overly big lineman, just an as absolutely dominant lineman. His awards would confirm this.
Although his professional career was hampered a bit by injuries, it may not have been a bad deal for Hicks. It was really uplifting for me to see John, upon completion of his football career, enter the profession of real estate finance, and eventually start his own company. I doubt that many people will disagree with this sentiment. However, in keeping with the spirit of football-related accomplishments, I again present a video made possible by Vico @ OHD. You will notice that several successful plays were run to Hicks’ side of the field. Coincidence? I think not.
In today’s profile OSU College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at Bob Ferguson, Hall of Fame Class of 1996.
Bob graduated from Troy High School in Troy, OH.
Ferguson’s career at Ohio State ran from 1959 – 1961. In the beginning of the 1959 season, the starting fullback was Bob White, a very good player in his own right. However, as the season progressed, Ferguson replaced White as the starter and led the team in rushing, averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
As good as Bob Ferguson was, he did have some help in the Ohio State backfield in the 1961 season.Ferguson shared the backfield with halfbacks Paul Warfield and Matt Snell. Look, I know that the current Buckeyes have has some high-quality running backs, but my god the 1961 backfield…
Ferguson finished his career at Ohio State with 2,162 rushing yards. This rushing total was at the time second in team history behind another Hall-of-Famer, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady.
Ferguson owns the distinction of never having been thrown for a loss during his college football career. Re-read the previous sentence and take a moment for it to sink in.
Pre Ohio State
Janowicz was born and raised in Elyria, OH and graduated from Elyria High School.
Janowicz played at Ohio State from 1948-1951. As a tailback in the single wing formation, the offense truly ran through Vic Janowicz. So much so, that in 1950 as a junior, Janowicz was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the second Buckeye to be recognized.. Woody Hayes, who coached Janowicz’s senior year, said of him:
“He was not only a great runner, but also passed, was a placekicker and punter, played safety on defense and was an outstanding blocker. Janowicz epitomized the ‘triple-threat football player.”
High praise indeed, coming from Woody. However, things changed a bit in Janowicz’s senior year under his new coach. Woody and installed the T formation, which didn’t use Janowicz’s triple-threat capabilities, thus he an average season as a part-time starter.
After college, Janowicz passed up offers to play professional football in order to pursue a baseball career. He reached the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and played two seasons as a back-up catcher and third baseman..
Janowicz entered pro football in 1954 with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. As their starting halfback, he finished second in the league in scoring with 88 points in 1955. In 1956 he suffered a brain injury in an auto accident. Though he recovered from the injury, his football career was over.
You’d think that with his skills and accomplishments, Janowicz would have been highly decorated. And he was.
Off the field, Janowicz faced much adversity after his college success. Just before the car accident, his daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which she succumbed to eight years. Janowicz eventually made a full recovery and became a broadcaster of Buckeye football games. Following the death of his daughter, he went to work in the Abstract Manufacturing Company.
Janowicz worked with youth groups and volunteered often in the community despite his own personal tragedies. He died in Columbus OH of cancer in 1996 at age 66.
This was a treat for me to do Vic Janowicz’s profile. He just struck me as a truly multitalented athlete who never met a skill position (offense, defense, special teams) that he couldn’t play, and play well. Additionally, he also seemed to be the unassuming personality who took life’s ups, and later downs, as they came. The legacy of Vic Janowicz, I feel, is truly a gold standard for OSU athletes. And probably the general population, as well.
Thank you, Vic.
Today, in the Ohio State College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at Gaylord Roscoe “Pete” Stinchcomb, inducted into the HOF in 1973. Stinchcomb, born in 1895, was a native of Sycamore, OH. He and was honored as an all state halfback while playing for Fostoria High School. I’m not sure how the names ‘Gaylord’, ‘Roscoe’ nor ‘Stinchcomb’ could lead to nickname of ‘Pete’, but Pete it is.
Stinchcomb enrolled at Ohio State in 1916, which would have made him a playing contemporary of Chic Harley (HOF’er) and a player under John Wilce (HOF’er). Wow. He played quarterback and halfback in 1917, 1919 and 1920. Like his teammate, Chic Harley, Stinchcomb left OSU to volunteer (US Navy) for war service. Stinchcomb’s bio at the College Football HOF describes him:
“Although a lightweight at 165 pounds, Stinchcomb was a halfback blitz, quick and shifty as he made his way through enemy defenses.”
I’m truly happy to profile a pioneer, in every sense of the word, Mr. Bill Willis. Willis, a Columbus native was a pioneer in the way the middle-guard position was played, but more importantly, in breaking the traditional segregation barriers that existed in sports, among other aspects of society.
Willis was three-time all-state honorable mention at Columbus East High School in the late 1930′s. This was the same high school that produced Chic Harley. (We talk about the Glenville ‘pipeline’, but don’t forget Columbus East..). Bill’s older brother (Claude) was an outstanding fullback for the high school, so to avoid comparisons, Bill preferred to play as a lineman. As it turned out, a wise choice, indeed.
Today we continue our tBBC College Football Hall of Fame series, with the first player every to win the Heisman Trophy from Ohio State University. A tradition that has witnessed seven trophies awarded to members of the Scarlet and Gray. This afternoon, we take a look at the accomplishments of Quarterback/Running Back Les Horvath, who helped to put Buckeye football on the map during the World War II era.
To say that Les Horvath was competitive at a young age would be an understatement. Born in South Bend Indiana in 1921, Horvath’s family would make their way to the Cleveland area early in his life. That’s where he would star as a talented athlete at Parma High School. A star in track, basketball, and football — Horvath reveled in competition. In 11th grade, when he found out his basketball teammates were more concerned about an upcoming party during a time out, Horvath packed his bags and his family moved cross town from the Parma school district to Rhodes.
One thing was clear early in the life of the first graduate player to win the heisman trophy. His drive to compete would fuel him as a Buckeye.