Mount Buckmore of the Decade: 1990s

By Chris Lauderback on May 28, 2012 at 10:00a
Mount Buckmore for the 90s features Orlando Pace, Eddie George, Mike Vrabel and Antoine Winfield.

Continuing our trip in the way back machine in which we select the four Buckeyes from each decade that are most deserving of a spot on Mount Buckmore, things are getting much tougher. 

The 60's were a slam dunk with Jack Tatum, Jim Stillwagon, Rex Kern and Bob Ferguson. The 70's were also pretty clear cut for me with Archie, John Hicks, Tom Cousineau and Randy Grandishar holding it down though the supporting cast ramped up quite a bit with guys like Tom Skladany and Pete Johnson on the outside looking in.

The 80's fearsome foursome included Cris Carter, Marcus Marek, Keith Byars and Chris Spielman though I wasn't as confident with this group in that Pepper Johnson had a strong case to supplant Marek. In the end, one of the finest perms in the history of Ohio State pushed Marek over the top. 

Now that you're up to speed, we turn our attention to the 90's where John Cooper's recruiting prowess made the selection process as difficult as dealing with his troubles against that team up north. No question, I expect more debate about this decade's chosen four than the other three decades combined. With that, let's get to it. 

Orlando pace - offensive tackle - 1993-96

The best lineman in the history of college football. 

I'll start off with the inarguable selection of Orlando Pace. It's telling that even the regular fan who may not know the intracacies of great offensive line play had no trouble seeing Pace as the most dominant lineman in all of college football during his time in scarlet and gray - and arguably the most dominant in the history of the colllege game.

The two-time 1st team All-American and two-time 1st team All-B1G performer simply overwhelmed opposing defensive linemen allowing guys like Eddie George to rack up Tecmo stats. 

In recognition of his ownership of the line of scrimmage, Pace was awarded the Outland Trophy in '96 and remains the only two-time winner of the Lombardi Trophy ('95, '96). 

Only 12 players have won both an Outland and Lombardi and Pace joins Dave Rimington as the only two players in history that have won a combined three of the respective prestigious awards. 

Pace even managed to finish 4th in the '96 Heisman Trophy voting behind Danny Wuerffel, Troy Davis and the premature celebrator himself, Jake Plummer. Who did Pace finish ahead of? Just some guys named Dunn and Manning. 

Even with all those honors, the most impressive thing I take away from Pace's time at Ohio State is the fact he did not give up a single sack in his collegiate career - and this was during a time when the Buckeyes actually looked to air it out a fair amount of time. 

The 1st pick of the '97 NFL Draft, Pace went on to earn seven Pro-Bowl nods and won a ring with the Rams. 

eddie george - running back - 1992-95

Another no-brainer, Eddie rushed for 1,442 yards and 12 TDs as a junior before morphing into full beast mode during a senior campaign that saw him rush for a school record 1,927 yards (5.9 ypc) and 24 TDs. 

He went for over 200 yards three times that season including the sickest single game performance you've ever seen when he got loose for an OSU record 314 yards, averaging 8.7 a crack against the Illini. I can still hear the chants, "EDDIE, EDDIE, EDDIE." 

He holds the school record for most games over 200 yards rushing with five and he's second on OSU's all-time rushing list with 3,768. His 44 rushing touchdowns rank 3rd behind Pete Johnson and Keith Byars and he holds down the #2 spot for most 100 yard rushing games in a career with 20. 

In the magical '95 campaign that saw him capture the Heisman, he also brought home the Walter Camp, Doak Walker and Maxwell Awards.

Eddie's #27 is retired and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011. 

The 14th pick in the '96 NFL Draft, George picked up four Pro-Bowl selections and rushed for over 10,000 yards, one of just 30 players to accomplish the feat. 

Antoine winfield - cornerback - 1995-98

Probably one of my three most favorite Buckeyes of all time, Antoine Winfield was a difference maker on some ridiculously good defenses in the mid-late 90's. 

Beyond taking his receiver completely out of the offense, Winfield was also insane in run support. Always playing with a relentless and fearless style, Winfield patented the low missile thrust in which he would blow the slats completely out from under approaching ball carriers. Following the tackle, he would then come to his feet, shake his head repeatedly and survey the damage he caused all while wearing the slickest sh!t eating grin you've ever seen. The man had fun playing the game and he was the best cornerback Ohio State has seen before or since. 

A two-time All-B1G and All-American selection, Winfield had a spectacular junior season in which he racked up 100 stops (82 solo), 12 breakups and two picks, earning him Team MVP honors on a squad stacked with talent. His 100 tackles led the team marking the first time in school history a corner had accomplished the feat. 

As a senior, Winfield picked up another 75 tackles and became the first Buckeye to win the Thorpe Award. 

Basically, if you want to argue Winfield's place on the mountain, I advise you to seek professional help. 

Mike Vrabel - Defensive end - 1993-96

This is where things might get dicey for some of you. With just one spot left on the wall and no less than five guys worthy of consideration, I ultimately landed on Mike Vrabel and while I think he's the most deserving, there are certainly arguments that can be made.

That said, Vrabel's body of work is absolutely outstanding. The Akron native was a three-time All-B1G selection and the conference D-Lineman of the Year in both his junior and senior seasons. Vrabro also earned All-American nods in his final two years in Columbus.

The man consistently set up shop in the opposing backfield allowing him to dominate the Tackles For Loss records at Ohio State. His 66.0 career TFLs are the most in school history - a full seven better than 2nd place Matt Finkes. 

Vrabel also holds the school record for TFLs in a season with 26.0, three more than 2nd place Andy Katzenmoyer. Mike also owns the 3rd and 9th best TFL single seasons at Ohio State with 20.0 in '94 and 18.0 in '96. 

A sack machine off the edge, Vrabel also claims the school record with 36.0 career sacks. 

Vrabel has three Super Bowl rings and was named to SI's NFL All-Decade Team. 

the notables

This list could go on for days. It's really incredible just how many impact players came through Columbus during the 90's. The decade also had a fair amount of guys that blew up for just one year, hurting their chances of making it on the wall. 

Andy Katzenmoyer is probably an omission that has some of you questioning my brain power. He certainly has a solid argument as the '97 Butkus winner (as a sophomore!), a '96 All-American and was twice a finalist for the Lombardi but I personally feel the Big Kat peaked as a freshman and never again saw that same level of dominance while Vrabel stayed beastly for three straight years. 

Steve Tovar is a name that maybe wasn't jumping out at you but he was even closer to being on the mountain than Katzenmoyer. Tovar anchored Ohio State's defense at the beginning of the decade leading the team in tackles for three straight years, picking up three All-B1G and two All-American selections in the process. He still ranks 4th on the school's all-time tackle list.

David Boston is probably my first alternate because not only did he put up sick stats, he was most dominant in the biggest games. The two that immediately come to mind are the '97 Rose Bowl when he wiped the smirk off Plummer's face and the '98 Michigan game when he blew up for 10 catches, 200+ yards and two TD's to keep the Wolverines out of the Rose Bowl. 

Terry Glenn was the first Buckeye to ever win the Biletnikoff when he exploded for 64 receptions, 1,411 yards and 17 TDs in 1995 but with his body of work being essentially limited to one season, he wasn't a serious contender for the final four. 

Other names of note include Korey Stringer, Dan Wilkinson and Joe Germaine. How in the hell did Ohio State not win a national title in the 90s?! (That's rhetorical.)


Comments Show All Comments

Menexenus's picture

Great selections!  Hard to argue with any of them.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

dan_isaacs's picture

Hardly.  It's shameful that Tito Paul was not listed.

Dan Isaacs

Seth4Bucks's picture

I saw the pic of the rushmore of the 90s before the jump and nodded to myself. My agreement was reinforced after reading through the article. I actually think Winfield's case the weakest of the four, but think he's still solidly on rushmore. IMHO, there's probably more to argue about if mt. rushmore were five players instead of just four. Trying to pick the next best seems like it would be pretty tough.

Ken-Yon Rambo's picture

"I actually think Winfield's case the weakest of the four, but think he's still solidly on rushmore."

I have to disagree here - people have forgotten who good he was.  IIRC, Winfield weighed something like 180 pounds, but absolutely destroyed folks.  The best CB I have ever seen in run support, at any level of football.  If you rewatch the '97 Michigan game, he was a monster in that game, and neutralized Charles Woodson when they were matched up. 

I always loved Malcolm Jenkins, because he was a poor man's version of Antoine Winfield, if that makes sense.  Winfield is as solid as anybody on the mountain. 

How firm they friendship...

Seth4Bucks's picture

That wasn't intended as a knock against Winfield. He was a great player and I did say that I felt he still deserved a spot one the mountain. IMHO, 1 is a given and then you really can't go wrong with Vrabel, Eddie, and Winfield for numbers 2-4. After that I feel there's a little bit of a dropoff, not much but enough to rank them as the top four spots.

3cent's picture

Agree with George, Pace, and Winfield, but strongly disagree with Vrabel. Since you are doing 2 offense and 2 defense I will not list the offense players who were better than him; I will just mention the defensive guys: Big Kat, Big Daddy, and Springs. Oh well, your 00's team is going to harder than this. I would go Smith, Pryor (even though I know you wont dare), Laurinitis, Hawk. Oh yeah...HOW IN THE HELL DID THE BUCKEYES NOT WIN A NC IN THE 90's. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

I don't think you can say those guys were better than Vrabel. They might've had a bigger impact, but Vrabel's stats are better than Katz, Big Daddy, and Springs, plus he was a 2 time All American and those 3 were AA's just once each. 

BuiltfortheNuthouse's picture

I might pick beanie instead of pryor

" I went for two cause I couldn't go for three." 
-woody Hayes 

3cent's picture

I was thinking beanie, but he was hurt too much.

Poison nuts's picture

00s - Smith, Lauranitis, Hawk have to be shoe-ins. Ginn, Beanie, Pryor, Malcom Jenkins, Micheal Jenkins, Holmes, & Krentzel fight for the last spot. For my money - it's really between Krentzel and Ginn...Krentzels numbers weren't great but the number of wins & the NC have to count for something. Whatever the case - I agree the next ones the toughest.
Edit - forgot Chris Gamble...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

You really can't argue with those selectons!!  I was lucky enough to be at the Shoe when Eddie single handedly crushed Notre Dame - it was amazing to watch and hear 100,000 screaming EDDIE EDDIE EDDIE!!!
Every time I hear or see Orlando I cannot help but remember a play against Iowa where the Pancake Man lit up an Iowa defender.  Eddie broke a long TD run but it was Orlando, 45 yards down the field throwing a brutal block that started when he made contact at the 5 yard line and ended when the Iowa defender hit the goal line as Eddie was crossing it!!!  They replayed it over and over and over!!! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

chrisrexOSU's picture

Maybe my recollection is based more on name status than actual talent, but how do Shawn Springs and Joey Galloway not even get honorable mention?!

painterlad's picture

Springs. Damn! A guy that good doesn't even make the 90's Mt. Buckmore? We were seriously loaded with talent during the 90's. Back-to-back choke jobs against the sun and blue took away at least 2 national titles. (3 if you count the Other Michigan Team coached by Nick Satan Saban in 98.)
Is it even possible to come up with the 4 all-time Mt. Buckmores? Woody and Archie for certain, but who would the other two be?

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

KCAlum's picture

98 we were generally acknowledged as the best team in the country.  Back in 98 the stigma of losing after September was still very much in play. If that season happened now, I bet we would be in the title game, as the MSU loss would have been more easily forgiven, As we saw in 07, that stigma is not as strong now.
In  96, somehow Jim Bollman was somehow calling our offensive plays even before he was hired during the second half of the Michigan game.
Both of those seasons should have been MNC seasons.

painterlad's picture

That 96 loss to the sun and blue was the only one in which I fully blamed Cooper. His sitting on a 9 point half-time lead was enough to make me puke. Great. Now I'm pissed again!

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

timhbomb's picture

where's the Bobby Hoying love?

RedStorm45's picture

'95-'98 makes me cry...
bobby hoying? shawn springs? joey galloway? 

lamplighter's picture

Hard to argue, but I would go with Shawn over Mike

Maestro's picture

Great decade for playmakers.  Can't really argue with the choices.  Well done.  I am partial to Boston myself, but that's one great Mount Buckmore.
Boston did indeed mount some tremendous stats that likely won't be touched any time soon.  I really thought Posey would threaten the receptions for a season record during his career but that obviously didn't materialize.
1998 season is just ridiculous : 85 catches for 1435 yards and 13 TD's.  16.9 per reception and 130 yards per game.  YOWSERS!!!!
Holds record for receptions in a game 14 and 13 are top 2 ever.
Holds record for receptions in a season with 85 and 73 being top 2 ever.
Holds record for career receptions with 191.
Holds record for receiving yards in a season with 1435.
2nd in career receiving yards with 2955 (Jenkins has 2998).
Holds record for receiving yards average for a game with min 5 catches with 32.6 vs Iowa in '98.
Holds record for average number of receptions per game for a career with 5.2
Holds record and is third in average receptions per game for a season with 7.1 in '98 and 5.6 in '97.
Holds record for career receiving touchdowns with 34.
2nd and 3rd with receiving touchdowns in a season with 14 in '97 and 13 in '98 (Glenn had 17 in '95).
Holds record for 100 yard receiving games in a season with 9 in '98.
Holds record for 100 yard receiving games for a career with 14.
2nd in consecutive 100 yards receiving game with 3 twice in his career.

vacuuming sucks

KCAlum's picture

The 60's were a slam dunk?  Where is Paul Warfield? 

BoFuquel's picture

The School Up North still sucks. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

themostbrian's picture

Neither Shawn Springs nor Joseph Scott Galloway merit an Honorable Mention?

buckeyes411's picture

it's tough to choose, not a bad thing!

ShadyBuckeye's picture

I found an error in your article, dont worry I'll fix it for you Chris:
Other names of note include JOEY GALLOWAY, SHAWN SPRINGS, Korey Stringer, Dan Wilkinson and Joe Germaine
sorry for being a smartazz haha but how could you mention Joe Germaine and not those two?? Germaine was like a Craig Krenzel but without the National Championship to his resume. Great Buckeyes no doubt but hardly deserving over Springsy and Gallaway. That would be like having Krenzel as an honorable mention for the 2000's and leaving off Ted Ginn and Malcolm Jenkins. Just cant do it...

gbm's picture

No Katzenmoyer no legit Mt. Buckmore. Funny how things change over the years. (Most likely its my memory) But if Vrabel didn't have an outstanding NFL career would he be on there today? Granted I was young and just started my love obsession with tOSU but what I remember from watching those games was Finkes getting all the love from the announcers and what nots.
Also, have we forgoten what sacred number the Big Kat wore in scarlet. Can't measure that holy stat.
I'll give you this is probably the hardest decade to decide, however, my heart is soft for Kat. If it wasn't for him I just might be a Michigan fan. When kids are young they either try to emulate their fathers or be better. I chose the latter when I was child and so Michigan was my team. When I started getting older though and actually appreciated the game (7th grade, and 1st year of playing football myself) Katzenmoyer showed up at Ohio State. Anyways long story short. I was in sheer awe of the way he played the game and would try to play just like him. Simply put its how I became a buckeye fan and he pretty much started this sick obsession. As much as I love him, don't think Vrabel ever had that kind of impact on any fan. Just those intangebles that can't be measured. Just saying. O-freakin-H

tennbuckeye19's picture

Its cool that Katz meant so much to you, and I'm glad you cheer for the good guys because of him. I hate comparing players, cause certain people get attached to certain players for a variety of reasons, not just because of stats.

Poison nuts's picture

I knew this would be a tough one. Figured Katz would be there but I do agree that his numbers got worse as the years went on. Part of that was teams knew about him after his first year & often assigned a few blockers just for him. Part of it was that he did peak early IMO... Hard to have argued any of those players that you have as alternates & even a few that aren't there. Damn the 90s were sick at Ohio State!!!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

RedStorm45's picture

Katz had to take more than just golf classes after his first year...

NorthernOhioBuckeye's picture

Katz also did not have that same line in front of him after his Freshman year. There was that fact and also the fact, as you state, that teams assigned blockers to him more often. He was still every bit the player he was his freshman year, but did not have the supporting cast. 

I would have included him on BuckMore ahead of Vrabel, but can't argue either way. However, if you really want to see how good he was, rememer this hit on Corby Jones. It will bring a smile to your face.

tennbuckeye19's picture

No recognition for Rob Murphy? 

Buckeye Chuck's picture

In the 30 years I've been watching the Buckeyes closely, Dan Wilkinson is the best defensive lineman who has come through the program, which makes him a better player than Mike Vrabel. This is not a criticism of Vrabel, obviously, but the perception that one underachieved in the NFL and the other overachieved doesn't change what they did in Columbus one bit.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

tennbuckeye19's picture

To me Vrabel had the better stats but Wilkinson had the bigger impact - if that makes sense. 

jestertcf's picture

They were all there in '95. Holy Moly.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

ARMYBUCK's picture

I think Katzenmoyer was great but I agree with the other posters that said he topped off as a freshman.  I wouldnt necessarily say he peaked but he clearly was free to roam with a lot less responsibility his freshman year and thats when he truly thrived.  You really cant argue with the selections although I do love Shawn Springs.  Its definitely tough and I think you did a great job.  Vrabel does indeed belong.  Whoever said that Finkes was the better of the two clearly wasnt alive during the 90's.

45buckshot's picture

i picked Katzenmoyer as one of my four. obviously his stats were better as a freshman because he was playing behind one of the best defensive lines in the history of Ohio State football. After Fickel, Finkes, and Vrabel graduated, his numbers dropped off, but the the defense didn't lose anything--because Katzenmoyer was there to clean up any messes. his sophomore season Iowa thought Tavian Banks would win the Heisman. I remember watchin Katzenmoyer line up players in that game, and after they played OSU he said "He [Katzenmoyer] was in the backfield more than i was."
Finkes, Fickel, and Vrabel were all starting in the tsun game that derailed the '95 season... but in '96 we had Katzenmoyer, and no body ran anywhere against us. If...
Shawn Springs hadn't slipped in that tsun game, we would have won a national title that year... i don't want to talk about it. But i would say, he didn't make my top 4, but so what he was only an All-American once. Nobody would throw to his SIDE of the field. All this talk with UM3 about using the whole field; Springs took away half of the field from opposing offenses.
But i want to put in some love for Germaine. He was the best throwing QB i've ever seen play for OSU. Watching him pass the football was an aesthetic pleasure for me; he threw such a pretty ball. And tough--i remember him getting killed a couple of times in games and he never came out. Never complained. Just won the Rose bowl. Crushed tsun as a senior, despite Cooper. Do we win the Rose bowl without him? Was it his fault we ran 8 straight run plays again MSU in the final minutes of that home game in '98, then never even tried to mix in a run on the final possession? or that on the last play of the game we called max protection and only sent out 2 receivers in a pattern? f$#$! 
that's why we didn't win a national title in the 90s. Even barely competent play calling in the tsun game in '96 or the MSU game in '98 and those teams would have rings... 

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

45buckshot's picture

So for the aughts... Troy has to make it, despite his last game, and AJ Hawk is a no-brainer, but i'm not a huge fan of lil' animal--he always seemed to be dragging the RB down rather than knocking him backwards.
Which is why #3 for me is Mike Doss. he was such a bad@$$. and we don't win the MNC if he doesn't come back for his senior year. 
#4 is tough. i like Jenkins, i don't think he gets enough love. Holmes was also good, what about Sanzo? Ginn was electrifing with the ball in his hands, but let's be honest, he wasn't a great receiver.
Can't pick Clarret, as instrumental as he was to the MNC. Crenzel is a good pick, he was a tough football player (led both teams in rushing in the MNC game). Gamble might be a good pick; i'll never forget him single-handedly beating PSU...
Cam Heyward might deserve a mention too. he took over the Arkansas game... and Gholston has the single-season record for sacks. 
but i think i have to taken Beanie. he had some injury problems, but he was a beast! he could, and did, take over games. he single-handedly willed us to beat tsun in '97.
Crenzel, Smith, Beanie, all wolverweenie killers. that should be enough to get on the wall... ;)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

Seth4Bucks's picture

I'm going to have to revoke your Buckeye card if you continue to refer to Krenzel as Crenzel. His first name is Craig, so maybe that's where you're getting the 'C' from.

nickma71's picture

Yeah, David Boston wiped that smile of Jake Plummer's mouth in a hurry. Not that I have a problem with Plummer. Great college player who was all heart. John Cooper was very much like Jim Tressel in an important way, for the youngsters that might not know. He said his job was to coach the coaches. He had a CEO approach. Tressel also did, he just wanted his Tressel ball as the master plan. Very unlike say, Saban.

SilverBullet's picture

Wow!!! Even without the NC's, this was a golden era @ TOSU. It was downright awseome to be a student and on campus with some of these living legends. John Cooper has to go down as on of the greates recruiters ever! I know it against the rules but you probably shoulda named 6 guys for the 90's list. Even with all the choke jobs and 3-5 blown National Championships, it was still the greatest most entertaining decade of OSU football i've ever watched!

bassplayer7770's picture

Agreed the 90s was a great decade for Buckeye football...except for the scUM games...and many of the bowl games...

Poison nuts's picture

Might be kind of cool to do a Mount Buckmore or article of some nature about some of the assistant coaches who were in Columbus at one point. It's pretty amazing to me that Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, UFM, Lou Holtz, Larry Coker, Mark Dantonio, & obviously Bo Schembechler all coached at Ohio State at one time or another...
Also interesting that from 2000 to now all but 2 HCs (Mack Brown & Gene Chizik) to win National Championships were either from Ohio or coached at Ohio State (or both)...The cradle of coaching indeed! 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

nickma71's picture

Talent isn't once a generation every year. That is what once a generation means. I wish the state of Ohio had an Orlando Pace talent every season, but the fact is, we don't. Not even California, Texas, or Florida does.