Editor's note: This feature, a pictorial countdown to the kickoff of the 2013 Buckeye football season, was originally spawned in the Forums, but a fellow 11dubber suggested that it move to the blogs - so, here it is. Enjoy today's installment of the countdown.
Forty-two days left: exactly six weeks until the Ohio State Buckeyes dismantle the
Hackensack Buffalo Bills Bulls at High Noon in Ohio Stadium. As we've done for each day of the past week, today we'll take a look at some of the men to wear #42 over the past 100 years of Buckeye football.
Surprisingly, only one All-American has ever been selected wearing #42. John Stanley Brockington, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., started at halfback and fullback for the Buckeyes from 1968-1970, earning All-American and All-Big Ten honors in his final season. He was one of the "Super Sophomores" who led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and a consensus national championship in 1968 (the Super Sophomores finished their college careers with a record of 27-2).
After serving primarily as a blocker for Jim Otis and Rex Kern in '68 and '69, Brockington was legendary coach Woody Hayes' featured running back in 1970, finishing his senior season with 1,142 yards, setting an Ohio State single-season record (a record currently held by Eddie George, who rushed for 1,927 yards in 1995). He also scored 17 rushing touchdowns that season.
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft, Brockington played six seasons in the team's letdown following the Lombardi era. His first season was notable, as his dynamic rushing ability earned him Rookie of the Year honors. He was the first NFL player to ever rush for 1,000 or more yards in each of his first three seasons, and was a three-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowl selection during those years.
Brockington's NFL career burned out like a candle in the wind, however. After eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing during each of his first three seasons, his production fell significantlyl. He ran for 883 yards in 1974 and only 434 the following year, due in part to physical wear-and-tear, the departure of running mate MacArthur Lane after the 1974 season, and changes in the Packers' playbook that did not take advantage of Brockington's abilities. After the first game of the 1977 season, he was released by the Packers, signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, and retired following the season.
Brockington was selected into the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 2000, and was elected into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame in 2002.
While Brockington was the first All-American to wear #42, he was not the first notable Buckeye to don the jersey. Future first-round draft pick Paul Warfield starred in the Buckeye backfield from 1961-1963, earning All-Big Ten honors in each of the latter two seasons (he was also a star on the Buckeye track team as a sprinter and hurdler). While Warfield didn't pile up gaudy stats, his skills impressed the Cleveland Browns, who selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 1964 NFL Draft.
In his rookie season, Warfield recorded 52 receptions (his best season for catches) for 920 yards and 9 touchdowns as the Browns won the NFL Championship. He spent six seasons with the Browns before being dealt to the Miami Dolphins in one of the most epic failures in Cleveland front-office history (and that's saying something). He was with Miami from 1970-1974, adding two more NFL championships to his resume, and wrapped up his career in Cleveland with a final season before retiring in 1977.
In his 13 NFL seasons Warfield caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards for 20.1 yards per catch, 9th highest all time, and scored 85 touchdowns. He added another 204 yards on 22 rushing attempts. During the 1968 campaign, he caught 50 passes and for the only time in his career gained more than 1,000 yards in receiving (1,067 yards). That year he scored 12 touchdowns as the Browns reached the NFL Championship for the third time in the 1960s.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1999, he was ranked No. 60 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. In 1979 Ohio State inducted him into its Varsity O Hall of Fame for both his football and track accomplishments and in 1990 he was inducted into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll.
Running backs weren't the only Buckeye standouts to wear #43, however. In the middle part of the Jim Tressel era, a linebacker named Robert J. Carpenter III, affectionately known as "Bobby," became a central part of the vaunted Silver Bullets defense. A native of Lancaster, Carpenter started in 26 out of 50 games he played at Ohio State, recording 191 tackles (121 solos) with 14.5 sacks and 23.5 for losses. He forced two fumbles, deflected seven passes and had three interceptions.
In the Championship Campaign of 2002, Carpenter played in every game as a true freshman leading the team with twelve tackles (8 solos). He appeared in every game, starting three times, at strong-side outside linebacker in 2003. He totaled 37 tackles (24 solos) with 4.5 sacks, 6.5 stops for losses and a pair of forced fumbles.
As a full-time starter in 2004, lining up at strong-side linebacker, Carpenter finished second on the team with 93 tackles (46 solos) and registered two sacks with 6.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Carpenter also deflected three passes and intercepted three others. As a senior in 2005, Carpenter started in the first eleven games of the 2005 season, finishing fifth on the squad with 49 tackles and second on the team with eight sacks and 10.5 stops for losses, earning second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors in the process.
Unfortunately, he fractured his right fibula in the final game of the season - The Game - and was unable to play in the Fiesta Bowl. His accomplishments, however, earned him a ticket to the National Football League, as he was tapped by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. In four years with the Cowboys, he never earned a starting role, but did rack up 96 tackles. In 2010 he was traded to the Rams and promptly cut from the team; was signed by Bill Parcells to the Miami Dolphins and promptly waived; and signed with the Lions in October.
On October 2, 2011 he had six tackles, a pass deflected and made the play of the game, returning an interception for a touchdown, which sparked a second half come-from-behind victory against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. The 24-point collapse was the largest blown lead in team history and eventually cost them a chance to qualify for the post-season. In 2012 he signed with the Patriots as sort of a backup plan - he currently serves as a co-host and fill-in anchor on Columbus sports talker WBNS-FM, 97.1 "The Fan."