By Ramzy Nasrallah on May 28, 2013 at 11:30a
made in ohio

The first guy to ever play there was named Horace Prettyman.

He was on eight (!) Michigan teams between 1882 and 1890 and scored their first two home field touchdowns ever. Prettyman was a three-time team captain, and he was born and raised in Williams County, Ohio.

The first guy to ever coach there was Gustave “Dutch” Ferbert. He won Michigan’s first Western Conference (now B1G) championship in school history in 1898. Before coaching the Wolverines, he played for them and was unanimously voted to be team captain. Ferbert was from Cleveland.

During his first season coaching, his Wolverines were shut out by Ohio Wesleyan, which was then led by Fielding Yost of West Virginia. Yost left Ohio and eventually took over for Ferbert at Michigan, where he won six of the school's 11 claimed national titles. He also became the athletic director.

And of course, Bo Schembechler was from Barberton and both played and coached under Woody Hayes. He is Michigan’s all-time wins leader, owns its highest winning percentage and won more conference titles than even Yost did.

Bo’s successor at Michigan, Gary Moeller, also played and coached for Hayes. He was the captain of the 1963 Buckeyes. As Michigan's coach, he is still fifth in conference winning percentage and championships. Mo is from Lima, which is about 71 miles north of Kettering on I-75, hometown of current Michigan coach Brady Hoke.

The best player in Michigan football history, Heisman Trophy-winner Charles Woodson, is from Fremont - the same town as consensus All-America Rob Lytle, who finished third in the 1976 voting. 

Its second-best player, Heisman Trophy-winner Desmond Howard, is from Cleveland - as was Benny Friedman, Michigan's best quarterback ever.

The Wolverines' best offensive lineman ever, Dan Dierdorf, is from Canton. 
Its best punter, left-footed space emperor Zoltan Mesko, grew up in Twinsburg where he cheered to the point of weeping with joy when Ohio State won the 2002 BCS title.

Yeah, yeah, you get the idea. No, no, you don't.

Michigan’s first black quarterback, 1974 captain and Heisman finalist Dennis Franklin played at Massillon. Michael Taylor, one of Michigan’s all-time leaders in both passing efficiency and completion percentage played at Cincinnati Princeton.

Its first (and only) quarterback named for the singer who opened the door to black music - Elvis Grbac - is from Cleveland where he coaches high school football today. All-America defensive tackle Mike Hammerstein was from Wapakoneta, home of Neil Armstrong (who went to Purdue, as astronauts often do).

Gratitude: Now available in 3XL.

All-America defensive backs Thom Darden and Dave Brown were from Sandusky and Akron, respectively. Tom Curtis, Michigan’s all-time interceptions leader (he had 25, which was eight more than Fremont's Woodson) was born in Cleveland, as was consensus All-America tight end Jim "el Diablo" Mandich.

Cincinnati native BJ Askew holds the Michigan record for the most receiving yards by a running back. He was voted the Wolverines' MVP in 2002, just as team captain Jordan Kovacs of Curtice was this past season. That highest program honor, unsurprisingly, is named for Schembechler.

Also receiving team awards last December were Senior Scholar Patrick Omameh of Columbus and Top Linebacker Jake Ryan of Westlake, the same high school that produced Buckeye Nightmare John Kolesar, who today still lives in town.

Gordon Bell was one of Michigan’s all-time leading rushers. He’s from Troy and might have ended up in Columbus were it not for Archie Griffin, whose shadow he played in throughout high school.

Bell actually rushed for more yards than Griffin did during his second Heisman season. Imagine them in the same backfield.

Mike Boren, Michigan's sixth-leading tackler all-time, is from Columbus. He has since been forgiven.

The starting fullback on Yost's "point-a-minute" team in 1902 was Paul J. Jones of Youngstown. He opened holes for halfback Albert Herrnstein, who scored six touchdowns against Ohio State in The Game that year. Herrnstein was from Chillicothe.

Herrnstein later became the Buckeyes' head coach and compiled a record of 28-10-1 which included an 0-4 record against his alma mater. His nephew John was the Wolverines' team captain in 1958.

Howard Yerges, the quarterback of Michigan's 1947 team considered by many to be its best ever was from Columbus Grove. He was also from Ohio State; Yerges was transferred as a Navy trainee during World War II from Columbus to Ann Arbor after playing for the Buckeyes in 1943.

His legendary 1947 season at Michigan was only made possible by conference officials who granted him a fifth year. Yerges handed off to Toledo native Bob Chapuis, who was the MVP of Michigan’s 1948 Rose Bowl victory that season running behind guard Stuart Wilkins of Canton. 

The Big Ten’s Silver Football Winner of 1965, Heisman finalist Bob Timberlake, was from Middletown. He's one of five Ohioans who have claimed the Big Ten's MVP award as Michigan Wolverines.

In total there are 38 Michigan Men in the College Football Hall of Fame. Fourteen of those legends are from Michigan, and they are largely from the leather helmet era. Nine of them native Ohioans, and eight of them played with facemasks.

Now you're starting to get the idea. There are plenty of other exceptional Michigan football players from Ohio, but the whole point is that you should be better informed than just "Bo was from Ohio." That's a little too lazy.

Justin Boren, son of Mike. Pre-enlightenment.

It would also be overly-simplistic for Michigan fans to say well those Ohioans are just going somewhere better but...these days they're going to Michigan. Forty-nine states have grown their populations this century. Guess which one hasn't.

Besides, that General Studies track that Michigan funnels the vast majority of its football players into doesn't deliver a lengthy, lucrative future just because of the seal on it. It's a nice recruiting pitch, but no paper does that. Even if it did, current US News & World Report rankings show more space between Harvard and Michigan (the Harvard of the West) than between Michigan and Ohio State.

The academic competition has changed. The vital importance of Ohio players to Michigan football has not.

At the same time, what has delivered a lengthy, lucrative history for Michigan football are its players and coaches from Ohio. It hasn't been "theft" in any sense, either: An enormous number of great players from Ohio have played for Ohio State, and you could write a similar story to this one about the numerous, forgettable Ohioans in winged helmets.

Michigan football has been built largely by men from the state it proudly claims to hate, on everything from its lying footballs to loud t-shirts. The Wolverines' historical success has been constructed with the aid of this imported talent, the output of which is that famous, empty arrogance.

And for over a century that arrogance has been nourished by players and coaches from its neighbor to the south, so everything we've grown to despise about Michigan fans - both of the academic and far more pervasive Wal-Mart variety - might actually be our fault.

Which means Michigan fans are probably right: Ohio just might really be the worst state ever.


Comments Show All Comments

Firmthyfriendship's picture

Traitors. Good riddance. Don't let the doorknob hit ya where the good lord split ya. 

45has2's picture

As Speils said: "Where would Michigan football be with out players from Ohio? It wouldn't be where it is, I guarantee you that."

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

AltaBuck's picture

Hey Ramzy...I think you meant to say 'decade' versus 'century'.
Edit - I see what you did. My bad.

I am Groot - Groot

Idaho Helga's picture

I have always wondered how TTUN players from Ohio rationalize the hate against our whole state...
...then go home for Thanksgiving to Momma's in Cleveland.
Like Zoltan Mesko, not all of them are arrogant but it seems like "Worst State Ever" shirts are just dumb when so many on your team and your coaches are from here.

13THandSummit's picture

How do players at tOSU from tsun rationalize an entire stadium signing "We Don't Give a Damn for The Whole State of M*ch*g*n"? Good article with a lot of interesting info, but I don't get why we're still talking about this little jab printed on a football. Whether or not the footballs are actually made in China and not USA, I thought it was a funny move by TTUN. Many people from both schools claim to hate everything about the other state and yet cheer on kids from said state every Saturday. I don't get the scrutiny of another school/fanbase when when we do the exact same thing...

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I don't get why we're still talking about this little jab printed on a football. 

This is why.

penult's picture

Many people from both schools claim to hate everything about the other state and yet cheer on kids from said state every Saturday. I don't get the scrutiny of another school/fanbase when when we do the exact same thing...

TTUN usually has a roster composed of about 40% Ohio players, with most of them being the best players on their team (as you can see from the article above). Ohio State usually has <5% of players from Michigan, and >70% players from Ohio. That is quite a huge difference for being the "exact same thing."

13THandSummit's picture

Point taken. I realized there was a disparity between the two, but didn't know it was that significant. However, some people are acting like they're hypocrites for having players from Ohio and saying they hate everything about Ohio. I don't believe this is the case. My favorite recruit so far in this cycle is Damon Webb from MI, but the next time I'm in the shoe I'll be signing about how I don't give a damn for the that whole state and won't feel like I'm being hypocritical. There may be some TTUN fans who think they would be just as successful without help from Ohio, but they're complete idiots and few and far between. Don't really need a whole article to show how ignorant this belief is, but again, great info to prove how much of an impact our players have on their program.

OSUs12-OH's picture

I love you stuff but now you've even topped yourself.  These facts are great aren't they?  Those are the ones I know of because my father taught me.  He hates that state may be more than me.  I've always loved how they say it doesn't matter that their two Heisman winners in the relevant college football years were from Ohio.  Love hearing/reading about them defending this and that...no defense for you TTUN fans.  Best things to happen to their TUN were from Ohio...PERIOD! 

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

Hovenaut's picture

So they've been shopping down here from the get?

Glad they started with a Prettyman.....

Anyway, I guess as long as 11W doesn't start farming out content to MGoBlo or any of their other, uh, sources I'll live with it.

F Moochagain.

73buckeye's picture

Another excellent article, Ramzy. I knew a lot of these facts, but have never seen them all in the same place at one time. I have a hard time believing I'd love the Buckeyes as much as I do if all their best players came from somewhere else. It amazes me that Michigan fans can actually feel as much passion as they claim when, nothing of much value really comes from their miserable state. Is there another school in the country that boasts as much about players that come from someplace they claim  to hate so much?  I'd be interested in seeing a list of  the best "Michigan Men" that actually came from Michigan. It's gotta be a short one


Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I'd be interested in seeing a list of  the best "Michigan Men" that actually came from Michigan.

There are plenty. Three categories of significance re: Michigan football legends - Michigan natives, Ohio natives, and neither. None of the three really dominate the other two in terms of volume, but take away any one of those categories and Michigan football is weakened considerably.

spqr2008's picture

Mike Boren, Michigan's sixth-leading tackler all-time, is from Columbus. He has since been forgiven.

My favorite line.  Bar none.

Buckeyeneer's picture


"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Buckeyeneer's picture

Valid point. Now give about 25 more examples and throw in a few coaches.
That said, I like your posts, M-Man, thanks for bringing the enemy's perspective.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

OSUs12-OH's picture

There are small and I mean small exceptions to the rule MMan.

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

M Man's picture

That's why I didn't mention that Tim Biakabutuka was from... Quebec, Canada.

-1 HS
penult's picture

This akin to a researcher pointing to only one article to refute a stance supported by a mountain of articles. 

Idaho Helga's picture

I heard when he was at tOSU he was looking to become a doctor.  He sure has the signature of one.

T4EHill's picture

Ramzy you've done it again!! Sweet article!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." Woody Hayes

andyb's picture

Mike Boren, Michigan's sixth-leading tackler all-time, is from Columbus. He has since been forgiven.

I LQTMS at work about this!

JeffCoBuck's picture

I started putting together at around the time Desmond Howard went through Ann Arbor (Is A Whore) that there were a significant number of uber-successful Weasels from our great state.  I started looking back at names like Grbac, and Dierdorf, and of course, the head coach at the time, Moeller, and the coach immediately before, Bo, and my hate for that program deepened.  If that state was solely reliant on its own in-state talent to field a squad, they would stink on ice.  It kills me and has for some time that without the state of Ohio, the Weasel program would be irrelevant and obscure.  Throw in the fact that Hoke has admitted he followed scUM just to be contrary, and that's a deal-sealer.  Go Blow.

M Man's picture

Gary Moeller wasn't just from Ohio; he was a Buckeye co-captain.


GoBlueBlood's picture

I have no allegiance to the state of Michigan, as I am not from the midwest.
From an unbiased point of view I feel that this argument is counterintuitive, because saying UofM takes some of Ohio's best is actually.. a compliment for UofM.. by them not allowing OSU to keep this talent in-state. With that said, when it comes to state vs. state arguments (which I never care to get involved with) this gives Ohio the upper hand against Michigan when it comes to talent. 
With that said, what I took away from this article is that Michigan had a guy with the last name "Prettyman" back in the day. Something about that is funny as hell to me. I couldn't imagine living my life with that as a legitimate last name. 

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

More like this, am I right?

(Sun Kil Moon reference)

The Ohio State University Class of 2001

BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

+1 HS
Idaho Helga's picture

LOL, now somebody here needs to start a thread on this theme.  Like, what should those shirts say instead of "worst state ever".

RedStorm45's picture

It's interesting to note from the Census Report that while Michigan is losing population, Ohio is barely gaining (I think we'd rank 46th or 47th in terms of population growth).  That's all Columbus, by the way.  Every other quadrant of the state is shredding citizens, and fast.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Very intersting article Ramzy!  I've seen those "worst state ever" shirts and often thought how much the Team up North relies on Ohio players and coaches.  We have had our fair share of players come down south, but I was pretty sure that more went up there to play.  I didn't know how much of an impact that Ohio has had on UofM football.  I do give them credit for getting some of the talent out of Ohio.  If anything I think this just goes to show how strong Ohio high school football is.  It is definetly one of the top 5 states in the US at producing players.  If not for the huge population advantages that Texas, Florida and California have over Ohio I'm sure that the gap would even be a little closer.  Great article!
Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
luckynutz's picture

This makes me think of the picture I saw recently saying imagine a country without ohio. Which lead to the counterpoint of imagine michigans trophy case without ohio? I ould actually imagine a country without michigan. I've believed it was part of canada for most of my life anyways. Which got me thinking, what has canada ever done to deserve the mitten state as punishment? I say we give it to mexico. It could be their alaska.