Top 25 Buckeyes of the Decade: #7 Malcolm Jenkins

Written August 9th, 2010 by Jim

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.

Malcolm Jenkins (2006-2008)

Malcolm Jenkins was everything you could hope for in a corner back and then some. He was a lock down defender in man coverage that could (and did) take away half of the field for the opponents passing game. He was also an extremely physical defender who was not afraid to come up and hit someone in run defense. Against the run or pass, as an offense you did not want to attack Jenkins’ side of the field.

By Jenkins’ senior season, he was so proficient at locking down half of the field that at times it seemed like he would deliberately let his man get by him, tempting the QB to  throw his way,  only to make up the distance at the last second to disrupt or intercept the pass. The coaches must have noticed this as well, and during his senior campaign Jenkins was utilized at safety at times, further tempting QBs to throw in his direction. Read More

Top 25 Buckeyes of the Decade: #11 Will Smith

Written July 26th, 2010 by Jim

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.

Will Smith (2001-2003)

Will Smith was a disruptive force at defensive end for the Buckeyes during his three seasons as a starter. His outstanding blend of athleticism and size allowed him to wreak havoc in the opposing backfield as well as to drop back in pass coverage.

Smith was the star and focal point of the dominating defensive lines in 2002 and 2003 that crushed opponent’s souls as Tressel Ball ground their hopes of winning into dust.

Like most starters on the 2002 team, I remember Smith most for his performance in the National Championship game. By sacking Ken Dorsey on the very first play, Smith set the tone for the rest of the game and announced to the world that Ohio State wasn’t going to get shoved around. Happy times ensued.

The attack mentality of the defensive line and the defense in general during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, with Sill Smith at the forefront, were truly a joy to watch. At times it seemed that Ohio State was blitzing every single play, but many times it was just the illusion of a blitz created by Ohio State’s front four smashing through the offensive line so often and so quickly. Read More

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.

Antonio Pittman (2004-2006)

Antonio Pittman’s career at Ohio State was overshadowed by the emergence of Beanie Wells during the 2006 season and in subsequent years.

Beanie’s sophomore year in 2007 cemented him as the best Ohio State back of the decade, quickly erasing many fan’s thoughts of Pittman and his outstanding career.

While many fans will remember Wells as the premiere back at Ohio State from the past decade, Pittman’s contributions should not be overlooked.

In fact, it would be a disservice to one of the best backs in Ohio State history if we did not acknowledge Pittman’s role in Ohio State’s excellence during the Tressel Era.

It 2004 Pittman arrived at Ohio State as a relatively unheralded freshman out of Akron, Ohio. He was thrown onto the field (perhaps a bit prematurely) almost immediately due to a lack of depth and a lack of production from the starters (in their defense, it was partly due to injury).

While Pittman was undersized and unprepared for the beating that backs take in the Big 10, when healthy and on the field, Pittman provided a spark to the worst rushing offense that Ohio State fielded in some time. Read More

The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer.  Every Monday through May and June, Jim will be announcing a new player.  Starting in July, we will be announcing new additions on Monday and Thursday.  Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th.  Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins.  For a look at the rest of the Top 25, click here.

LeCharles Bentley (2000-2001)

Bentley looked good in scarlet and gray.

LeCharles Bentley is another stand out center that was a two year starter for the Buckeyes. In 2001, Bentley was named a First-Team All-American as well as a First-Team All-Big Ten player.

For his efforts on the field in 2001, Bentley was also awarded the Rimington trophy, which has been presented to the “most outstanding” center in college football since 2000.

Bentley was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2002 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He went on to have an outstanding rookie season at guard in which he was named the offensive rookie of the year by Sports Illustrated. He was also named to the all rookie team by Pro Football Weekly.

He followed up his outstanding rookie campaign by being named to the Pro Bowl in 2003, 2004 (alternate), and 2005. Bentley signed with his hometown Cleveland Browns in 2006, unfortunately for him and the city, injuries and complications prevented him from ever suiting up in a game for the Browns.

Despite his career being cut short, Bentley was clearly one of the best lineman in college football and in the NFL when he was healthy.

Slightly off topic, but between Mangold and Bentley, Ohio State has produced two of the finest centers college football has seen in the last ten years. Unfortunately, beyond the pair Ohio State’s offensive line has been below average, at least for Ohio State’s lofty standards. Hopefully that trend will be reversed this year from what looks like the best offensive line in the Tressel era.

Back on topic.

For his All-American and All-Big Ten season in 2001, as well as his short but Pro Bowl caliber NFL career, LeCharles Bentley is 21 on our countdown of the top 25 Buckeyes of the decade.