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The Ten Greatest Buckeyes Of All-Time: #2 Archie Griffin
The Ten Greatest Buckeyes Of All-Time: #2 Archie Griffin
To this day, Archie Griffin is the only two time winner of the Heisman Trophy. He also never lost to Michigan during his four year reign of terror at Ohio State. He is one of the most decorated college athletes of all-time, and and probably the second most famous athlete in Ohio State history (second only to Jesse Owens). So who's #1? We'll find out soon as Furls rundown of the 10 greatest Buckeye football players ever winds down.
10 - Rex Kern
#9 - Jim Stillwagon
#8 - Randy Gradishar
#7 - Vic Janowicz
#6 - Troy Smith
#5 - "Hopalong" Cassady
#4 - Orlando Pace
#3 - Jack "The Assassin" Tatum
Archie was not blessed with Barry Sanders' quickness, Marshall Faulk’s blazing speed, nor Keith Byars ability to absolutely punish opposing tacklers. Archie had just enough quickness to be elusive, just enough speed to break away, and just enough power to shed arm tackles. All that was just enough to make Archie Griffin the most decorated college football player in NCAA history and probably the second most famous athlete in Ohio State history (second only to Jesse Owens).
How can it be that possibly the most decorated athlete in college football history can rank second? Archie is college footballs ONLY two time Heisman Trophy recipient, yet he is only second on this list. What does a guy have to do to finish first, build Ohio Stadium himself? Maybe, but that is a topic for another discussion.
Archie Griffin may be one of the most famous college football players of all time. I am pretty sure that every Buckeye fan has seen at least a few plays that featured number 45 hitting the hole with impeccable timing and absolute reckless abandon. His slashing running style might best be compared to a guy like Tiki Barber today. Much like Tiki Barber, Archie never really seemed to get hit hard because I don’t think anyone, including Archie, knew exactly where he was going or where he was going to end up.
The comparison with Tiki Barber does not just end with running style for here is something that a lot of Buckeye fans may not realize, Archie Griffin is not the giant that his football accolades make him seem. In his prime, Archie stood just 5’8” and tipped the scales at a remarkable 185lbs. That’s it. Now at this point I could spout off some cliché about how his heart made up 180 of that weight, or that the defensive line may have had trouble seeing him because he was short, but instead I would rather leave that to you, the reader to think about. We all know someone that size, but I am pretty sure that we would all be hard pressed to imagine them on the football field for a major division one program carrying the ball.
So what did Archie do, well we have all heard about the two Heismans and the three All-American awards, and the Walter Camp accolades, and etc. I suppose that I could try to make some kind of cross generational extrapolations and attempt to rank Archie’s prowess among football’s all time greats, or rattle off some impressive obscure number from his 1973 sophomore season; for instance the fact that he finished fifth in the Heisman that year also. If you are interested in the statistics, then by all means, I recommend typing “Archie Griffin Ohio State Football” into a Google search. What you will not see in the impressive numbers is a true representation of Archie Griffin.
He is an eloquent, soft spoken, and generous man who never runs out of time to sign item after item, free of charge or talk a little football. He donates his time everywhere in Columbus, from West Jefferson to Pataskala, whether the media is watching or not. Archie understands what he means to Ohio State and the entire athletics department; he is the great ambassador of the program.
Long ago, a very wise man talked about “paying it forward.” He said, paraphrased, that you can never pay it back, you could only pay it forward. Archie Griffin started “paying it forward” the day he set foot on this campus and continues to do so to this day.
1972: 867 rushing yards (freshman rushing record)
1973: 1,577 rushing yards (fifth in the Heisman, All American)
1974: 1,695 rushing yards (won Heisman, All American)
1975: 1,450 rushing yards (won Heisman, All American)
5,589 rushing yards, 26 touchdowns, and a mind-boggling four-year career average of 6.1 yards per carry.
Career record vs. Michigan: 3-0-1.
Aug 06, 2009 7:00 PM
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