Five for Friday: The Best #7s in OSU History
By Tony Gerdeman
There are a handful of jersey numbers that mean more than most at Ohio State. One of those is the number seven. If a player wears the number seven today, then he is automatically bestowed with expectations of immense production and excitement.
For the most part, those expectations are the product of the last 20 years. After all, Ohio State went from 1940 to 1970 without anybody even wearing the number. There are a couple of exceptions, however, and they are noted below.
You may not agree with the order of the list, but it's impossible to argue the inclusions on it.
1. Ted Ginn Jr.
Teddy Ginn was perhaps the most exciting Buckeye in history, he was certainly one of the most electric. Every time his hands touched the ball and his feet touched the ground there was the possibility for something that you had never seen before. He was never as productive as you would have liked, but that had more to do with the offense that he played in than his talent. After all, this is a guy who carried the ball on end arounds and reverses just 28 times in his career. That's less than once per game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
2. Joey Galloway
Had Joey Galloway come along a couple of years later than he did, he could have been even better. The Buckeyes hadn't yet evolved into a decent passing game, and they wouldn't until 1995, which was the year after he was gone. Imagine if a senior Bobby Hoying had been able to throw to him. Basically, Galloway was Ted Ginn before Ted Ginn. He was just as fast, but also shiftier. He was handcuffed by the lack of quarterback talent, but he was still as dangerous as anybody in the nation when he was healthy.
Photo by Jim Davidson
3. Chris Gamble
If you want to have Chris Gamble #1 on this list, I can't argue it. His impact in 2002 was immeasurable, and his play was impeccable. With about five others from the 2002 team, if you remove him, the National Championship season never happens. Gamble was a two-time All-Big Ten player at cornerback, but became a household name early on in 2002. He also rejuvenated the #7, handing it off to the nation's top CB recruit Ted Ginn Jr., who ironically would move to wide receiver.
4. Cornelius Greene
I know there are some who wouldn't put Cornelius Greene ahead of Joe Germaine, and I understand that. However, Greene was 2-0-1 against Michigan as a starter, which is the greatest measurement that a Buckeye quarterback can have. He was a two-time All-Big Ten performer and a magician with the ball. He did lose his final two Rose Bowls, however. Still, the mark that he made during his three years as a starter – two Michigan wins and three Rose Bowl appearances – can't be topped.
Photo by Joe Giblin
5. Joe Germaine
While only a starter for one season (1998), his impact was felt long before that with his game-winning drive in the 1997 Rose Bowl. He cemented his legacy in Buckeye lore with that Rose Bowl win, yet still had to deal with the politics of a team's framework for another season. He was the quarterback of the best team in the nation as a senior, but had little control over the spiral of doom that struck against Michigan State. He was 1-1 against Michigan as a starter, and 1-0 in the Rose Bowl.
Bonus: Jermale Hines
Jermale Hines was perhaps the best nickel back in Ohio State history. Nobody disrupted wide receiver screens like he did. It took him a while to find his best spot, but once he did he was a master of his domain. And ever since he left, Ohio State has tried like hell to find another just like him.
Bonus: Sonny Gordon
Sonny Gordon was All-Big Ten as a senior in 1986, as well as a captain. He was so well-respected that the media allowed him to change the name of his position from "rover back" to "nutcracker". He finished with seven interceptions as a senior, including one in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M. He was voted the "most inspirational" player on the 1986 team by his teammates.
Bonus: Derek Ross
Derek Ross was extremely talented, but wasn't necessarily the best teammate. He left a year early following the 2001 season. The main reason I bring his name up is to ask you this: If he had come back for the 2002 season, do the Buckeyes play for a national championship? There wouldn't have been the desperate need to move Chris Gamble to defense, after all.
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