ESPN lists five Ohio State running backs in its top 100 of the last 60 years

·3 min read

The running back position used to be the so-called glamour position of college football. And while that has exponentially switched to the quarterback position over the last couple of decades, some of the all-time greatest names in the history of the game did their damage on the ground toting the rock.

At Ohio State, the running back position is littered with guys that were some of the best of the best in the game historically. As such, you would expect any list that comes out targeting the best running backs the game has seen to have a few wearing scarlet and gray — right?

Well yes, it seems. In fact, ESPN recently published a list of the top 100 running backs over the last 60 years (subscription required), and Ohio State had five former players appearing. We’re going to go through them for you here to get discussion and debate going.

Let’s start it off with the guys later in the list and work our way towards the top.

No. 72 - J.K Dobbins

Former Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins picks his favorite runs as a Buckeye
Former Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins picks his favorite runs as a Buckeye

Dec 28, 2019; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs with the ball against the Clemson Tigers in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl college football playoff semifinal game. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Years Played at Ohio State

2017-2019

No. 43 - Keith Byars

Big Ten football: Top ten rushing touchdown leaders of all time
Big Ten football: Top ten rushing touchdown leaders of all time

Sep 15, 1984; Columbus, OH, USA; FILE PHOTO; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Keith Byars (41) in action against the Washington State Cougars at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes beat the Cougars 44-0. Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Years Played at Ohio State

1982-1985

What ESPN Says

“Injuries can be cruel: Byars combined 1,764 rushing yards with 42 receptions while finishing second in the Heisman voting in 1984 and was primed to win it in 1985 before breaking his foot in the preseason and struggling as a senior. But his junior season was an all-timer.”

No. 34 - Ezekiel Elliott

Ohio State to be added to EA Sports' Madden NFL 22 Campus Legends mode
Ohio State to be added to EA Sports' Madden NFL 22 Campus Legends mode

Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) runs past the Oregon Ducks defense in the first quarter for a touchdown in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Years Played at Ohio State

2013-2015

What ESPN Says

“I could tell you about his back-to-back 1,800-yard seasons … or I could just show you his most famous run.”

No. 21 - Eddie George

Ohio State football well-represented on ESPN top 150 players all-time
Ohio State football well-represented on ESPN top 150 players all-time

Oct 21, 1995; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Eddie George (27) runs the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers 28-0. Mandatory Credit: Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Years Played at Ohio State

1992-1995

What ESPN Says

“Like others on this list, George had to wait his turn to prove himself. But after rushing for 1,442 yards as a junior in 1994, he somehow found another gear as a senior: 1,927 rushing yards, 47 receptions, 25 total touchdowns and one Heisman Trophy.”

No. 2 - Archie Griffin

Jan 1, 1976; Pasadena, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Archie Griffin (45) carries the ball against the UCLA Bruins in the 1976 Rose Bowl. UCLA defeated Ohio State 23-10. Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Years Played at Ohio State

1972-1975

What ESPN Says

“Simply put, Griffin put together the most celebrated four-year career a running back has seen. After splitting carries with Champ Henson as a freshman, Griffin averaged 20-plus carries and 135 yards per game for three straight seasons, leading Ohio State to a 31-3-1 record and, after finishing fifth in the Heisman voting in 1973, becoming the only player to win it twice, in 1974 and ’75. He was almost impossibly steady and consistent, but he also brought some pop, averaging 6.0 yards per carry in a ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ offense.”

[listicle id=88984]

Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Phil Harrison on Twitter.

Let us know your thoughts, comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.

1

1