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Randy Gradishar, Tom Cousineau, Marcus Marek, Pepper Johnson, Chris Spielman, Steve Tovar, Andy Katzenmoyer, Nail Diggs, Matt Wilhelm, AJ Hawk, James Laurinaitis...
Who am I missing?
Impossible task but rank 'em...
"Buckeye born and bred, a Buckeye 'til I'm dead"
I'm adding a few more to the list. Ranking them is a near impossible task, but it's a fun diversion. I've never seen many of these guys play (at least not when I was old enough to analyze football players), but they're all prominent OSU linebackers as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure I still missed a few. When ranking these guys, I considered the following: All-Pro, Super Bowls, All-Americans, years pro, national championship as a player, and whether or not he was voted team MVP. I did not include Mike Vrabel, because he played defensive end at OSU. Here's what I came up with:
1. Randy Gradishar (1971-73; All-Pro 7 times in 10 yrs.; played in 1 Super Bowl; 2-time All-American)
2. Chris Spielman (1984-87; All-Pro 4 times in 13 yrs.; 2-time All-American; team MVP)
3. A. J. Hawk (2002-05; All-Pro 1 time in 7 years; won 1 Super Bowl; 2-time All-American; team MVP; nat. champ.)
4. Pepper Johnson (1982-85; 13 years in the NFL; won 2 Super Bowls; All-American)
5. James Laurinaitis (2005-08; 4 yrs. in the NFL; 3-time All-American; Butkus, Nagurski, and Lott winner)
6. Tom Cousineau (1975-78; 9 yrs. pro in CFL and NFL; 2-time All-American; team MVP)
7. Steve Tovar (1989-92; 8 yrs. in the NFL; 2-time All-American)
8. Ike Kelley (1963-65; 7 years in the NFL; 2-time All-American)
9. Na'il Diggs (1997-99; 12 years in the NFL; All-American)
10. Matt Wilhelm (1999-02; 8 years in the NFL; All-American; national champion)
11. Marcus Marek (1979-82; 3 yrs. pro; All-American)
12. Andy Katzenmoyer (1996-98; 3 yrs. in the NFL; All-American; Butkus winner)
13. Jim Laughlin (1977-79; 8 yrs. in the NFL; team MVP)
14. Bobby Carpenter (2002-05; 7 yrs. in the NFL; national champion when he lettered his freshman year)
15. Dirk Worden (1966-68; team MVP; national champion)
16. Mark Stier (1966-68; team MVP; national champion)
17. Dave Adkins (1974-77; team MVP)
18. Derek Isaman (1985-89; team MVP; successful pro boxer after college)
I'd like to see PSU or anyone else challenge that for the title of "Linebacker U." Now I need a drink...
the REAL linebacker u baby......
Not that it matters, but I think marek is a little low on your list. I would put gradishar, cousineau, spielman and marek top 4.
For me, it will always be Spielman. Great player, better person.
Carp fish and hook best tandem
OSU is completely stacked full of history in the positions of Wide Receiver, Defensive Back, and Linebacker. The names that fill each category are amazing
I think you could make arguments for a lot of guys to be moved around on this list. I can't put anyone ahead of Gradishar. He was about as dominant as a linebacker can be both at OSU and in the NFL. Marek was a great one for sure, but his short pro career in the USFL rather than the NFL wasn't as high on my list as some of the other guys. The USFL did have some great talent, though, like Steve Young, Jim Kelly, etc. I definitely learned a bit about OSU linebackers while trying to rank these guys.
Spielman is a great choice for sure, and that's high praise coming from a Michigan guy. If the Lions would have been just a bit better, he might have topped my list.
Gradishar led some pretty punishing Orange Crush defenses for the Broncos, and Woody Hayes called him the finest linebacker he ever coached.
Intriguing blog you have there, too, by the way.
They are a good tandem for sure. Carp would make good LBs. I can think of some other tandems I might rank higher, though, but that's another thread...
No doubt man. I wonder what our most illustrious position actually has been? I would have thought WR would have been better represented, but believe it or not, only one WR has been an All-American (Cris Carter in 1986). Obviously, the NFL has had quite a few Buckeyes at WR since Carter. That seems to be a position of recent success for the program.
Correction: Terry Glenn was also an All-American and won the Biletnikoff award. Hard to believe he was a walk-on! David Boston was also AA.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Zeuslerus 22 months ago
A few more LB's I remember being good were Stan White, Glenn Cobb and Lorenzo Styles. White played for the Baltimore Colts for quite a while; Cobb always seemed to be overshadowed by Marek and Styles was, I think, a 2nd round draft pick by the Saints.
ok. but i ignore nfl career for best linebacker at osu. once you start looking at pro career that changes things.
Some of the best college players of all time did squat in the nfl....Tommy Frazier, Charlie Ward, Wuerfel come to mind real quick....Troy Smith, Pryor, Archie Griffin.
But hey, it's your list and you can list em any way you want....so +1 to you.
Nice call on Styles! He and Craig Powell were on the same Defense with Big Daddy. The two of them were fast and athletic. Powell was drafted in the first rd by the Browns.
Zeuslerus.....great job Buckeye Brother with list and stats and info........can't argue much with list. Might debate placement...but still great list.
Ok I add to the list...best linebacker names. When I think of a cool linebacker name and rolls off the tongue..top of the list has to be AJ Hawk, Na'il Diggs, Pepper Johnson, and Marcus Marek. Of course when you look up the word linebacker in dictionary you would find Chris Spielman's picture next to it...man his picture was on a Wheaties box. Spiels is one of my all time favorite Buckeyes.
Good list, I might tweak a little as arguments could be made for any of the top 3 to be at the top of the list. I'd put Diggs a little lower as he left OSU too early. I'd move Katz up a few spots and put Wilhelm and Marek right behind, all ahead of Diggs.
in my lifetime, for what i remember again im just going top 5: 1.) hawk 2.) katz 3.) JL 4.) bobby carpenter 5.) wilhelm
I was actually a Buckeye fan at that point...
I also knew Spielman through a charity he ran when he was with Detroit. The guy is one of the good ones...
Now you've really piqued my interest. Just curious here, but what was it that made you switch from an OSU fan to a Michigan fan? One of my roommates at OSU grew up as a Michigan fan and then switched his allegiance during undergrad. Was it a similar situation for you?
he went and graduated from michigan i believe
This post was edited by great2belucky 22 months ago
Tommy Frazier didn't get a chance to play pro because of blood clots in his legs.
I loved the Big Kat. Dude hit like a train.
"man we got some fuckin weirdos on this site." - Davebucknut 9/5/13 post of the year
Yeah it's between WR or DB for sure but i think i'd have to agree with you man. It's extremely close in those 2 positions
Don't forget Bruce Elia...first of OSU's LBs to wear 36; he was originally recruited at FB but converted to LB. He would've been even more well known as a LB except when Champ Henson went down with an injury in 1973 and freshman Pete Johnson was deemed not ready to start, Woody moved him back to FB. That season Elia led the Buckeyes in scoring (14 touchdowns for 84 points). In 1974 he returned to linebacker and was the team's leading tackler (144--74 solo + 70 assisted). He was picked in the 4th Round of the 1975 NFL by expansion Tampa Bay and then traded in a package deal to the 49ers for QB Steve Spurrier.
agreed on Marek; he helped make #36 what it is...
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