AndyVance's picture
July 23, 2013 at 8:36a

Well, thank goodness the day that couldn't end fast enough finally did. Let's cleanse our palates with the next installment of our countdown to kickoff, shall we?

Some numbers are more popular than others. In some cases, it's a function of what numbers are available for a given position, and in other cases, great players of yesteryear fuel younger players' desire to wear a certain number, creating more potentially great players at a given jersey designation. In the case of #39, there aren't an overwhelming number of names one recognizes right away.

In fact, of the two dozen men to wear #39 since 1934, only half actually earned a varsity letter, none of whom earned All-American honors. Of the dozen lettermen, only three were named team captain, and two of those men in turn were named All-Big Ten selections.

As it turns out, #39 was something of a "starter jersey" for many Buckeyes over the years, with no fewer than 10 players wearing some other number during their time at Ohio State, and in many cases wearing #39 for a single season. This was the case, for example, with Denman "Sonny" Gordon, an all-conference defensive back (once known as the "rover back," or as he would have preferred, "the nutcracker") who played in the 1986 Cotton Bowl for the Buckeyes and actually wore #7 for the bulk of his career.

Gordon was drafted, like many Buckeye standouts of yesteryear, by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He was later waived and signed by Tampa Bay, and was listed on their roster for a single season, but recorded no stats (although a Buccaneers' fan site says he got six tackles).

More recently, one future NFL player wore #39, at the end of the John Cooper era. Jamar Martin, a standout at Canton's McKinley high school, was a running back for the Buckeyes from 1998-2001. Used as a rough and tumble fullback, Martin recorded 226 career rushing yards in 61 attempts, and caught 21 passes for 192 yards. In total, he scored six touchdowns for Ohio State.

Selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, Martin spent four seasons in the league, including two with Dallas and one each with the Dolphins and the Jets (he spent a fifth on the New Orleans practice squad). He played one season in the Arena Football League. Given that the fullback position has lost some of the luster of its former glory, it's not entirely surprising the Martin's NFL stats aren't much to talk about.

The incumbent at #39 is a walk-on kicker named Kyle Clinton. A graduate of Dublin-Coffman high school, Clinton walked on to the football team in January 2012, playing in his first game as he kicked off twice in the season opener vs. Miami. He transferred to Ohio State in the fall of 2011 after competing for Ohio University in 2010, where he played in every game for the Bobcats that season.

A three-year letterman at Coffman, Clinton also wrestled and played lacrosse; he was named first-team Division I all-state (football) by the Associated Press as a senior in 2009. It is unclear, given the presence of water in this practice photo, if Clinton is the infamous kicker referenced by Coach Kerry F. Coombs in the viral "you're a kicker" video.

And that'll do it for today's installment of the countdown. If you've missed it so far, here is the archive of the series for your reading/viewing enjoyment:

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Run_Fido_Run's picture

Andy, thanks for providing this bit of relief and normalcy. Perhaps #39 is appropriate for today - an unheralded number on this quiet after the storm.

Earle's picture

The sun came up today, and things are looking much better (at least from the depths of yesterday's despair).  Urban Meyer is still the coach, and the worst offense to discuss is a backup kicker possibly wanting a drink during warm-ups.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Oyster's picture

Yea, it's quite obvious he is a newbie.  Hopefully a certain coach doesn't read this forum and see that picture!

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

ODEEZ330's picture

That 1997 mckinley team had jamar martin kenny peterson and mike doss. They were 2001 usa today national champs. Stark hasn't seen a team like that since. Wow.

stark county football

Hovenaut's picture

Didn't know that.....must have been a helluva team there.

Martin was a beast, a great lead blocker in Cooper's I formation attack.

Baroclinicity's picture

I embrace the less popular numbers.  I mentioned last year that I thought Shazier should have kept #48 he used during the Penn State game.  If I was playing, give me #39, #48, etc.
In a somewhat related theme, there was an article about college basketball jerseys numbers.  College basketball only lets you use the numbers 0-5 in either digit place.  (Not sure about 00.)  #53 is by far and away the least popular basketball number used... recently anyways.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

AndyVance's picture

Any idea why the NCAA places the limit? Is that simply a function of the refs being able to signal jersey numbers for fouls on one hand?

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

At least for high school on downward, that is exactly the reason.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

AndyVance's picture

Funny that it's an issue in basketball, but they figured out how to do it in football...

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

They don't accumulate fouls per player in football like they do in basketball.  In football it doesn't matter who made a penalty.  In basketball, it must be clear who made the foul, and therefore both speaking and hand gestures are used to tell the official scorer who made the foul.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

AndyVance's picture

Well that makes some sense... Thanks!

HighBallAce's picture
Has nothing to do with the topic but it's funny as hell....LOL

dubjayfootball90's picture

Nice to take a trip down memory lane. Of course, not my memory, for the most part, but good to learn about the past players and numbers. Keep 'em coming!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

GoBucks713's picture

ABC6 here in Columbus posted something about it being 39 days away with the same pick of Jamar on their FB page. I called them out for you Andy.

-The Aristocrats!

AndyVance's picture

Thanks, Eric - your comments on their FB page just made my day :)

GoBucks713's picture

Anytime Brother!

-The Aristocrats!

pjtobin's picture

I will not lie to you Mr. Vance. I had no clue who these guys were. Thanks for filling me in. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.