In 18 days Ohio State will play Navy to start the 2014 season. Below you will find a list of the 37 players who have worn No. 18 for the Buckeyes since 1931.
Today's featured players are Merle Wendt, Don Clark and Andy Groom. Wendt is one of eight Buckeyes to earn All-American honors three times:
Chic Harley (1916, 1917, 1919)
Wes Fesler (1928, 1929, 1930)
Lew Hinchman (1930, 1931, 1932)
Merle Wendt (1934, 1935, 1936)
Archie Griffin (1973, 1974, 1975)
Tom Skladany (1974, 1975, 1976)
Mike Doss (2000, 2001, 2002)
James Laurinaitis (2006, 2007, 2008)
|Player||Worn||All-American||All-B1G||Captain||Academic AA||Ac All-B1G||Letter|
|Merle Wendt||1934-36||1934, 1935, 1936||1934, 1935, 1936||1936||1934-36|
|Donald Clark||1956-58||1957, 1958||1956-58|
|Andy Groom*||2001-02||2002||2002||2000, 2001, 2002||2001-02|
|Jim Otis*||2002-03||2002, 2003||2002-03|
Merle Wendt, E (1934-1936)
High School: Middletown
The Buckeyes were 19-5 with Wendt on the team.
1935 Big Ten Title.
Went 3-0 against That Team outscoring them 93-0.
1936 All-Big Ten.
1935 All-Big Ten.
1934 All-Big Ten.
1981 Inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.
Merle Wendt's Ohio State career per Wikipedia:
Wendt was a starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1934 to 1936 and was captain of the 1936 team.
Wendt was five feet eleven inches tall, and weighed 190 pounds. He was described as "A great pass catcher, hard tackler and tops in defense."
Upon his selection as captain, one Ohio newspaper wrote: "A superb defensive man, the 188 pound flanker teamed with Gomer Jones, Cleveland, whom he succeeds at the Ohio helm, in leading the charge of the forward wall of Francis Schmidt's eleven."
Wendt was selected as an All-Western Conference end as a sophomore in 1934. He was also selected as a first-team All-American in 1934 by the International News Service—the Hearst newspapers wire service.
In 1935, Wendt was selected as a first-team All-American by Liberty Magazine and the Newspaper Editors Association.
Wendt played on Ohio State teams that defeated the Michigan Wolverines three straight years by a combined score of 93-0.
In 1936, Wendt was asked about his greatest thrill: "After no undue amount of deliberation Merle decided that his greatest thrill was the time he caught the winning touchdown pass against Michigan in 1934."
Wendt's life after playing football at Ohio State per Wikipedia:
Wendt had offers to play professional football from seven NFL teams, but opted instead to pursue a career in chemical engineering.
He married his wife, June Stone, six days after receiving his degree in chemical engineering. For many years, Wendt was the director of chemical engineering for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio.
Donald Clark, RB (1956-1958)
Born: 1936 (Akron)
The Buckeyes were 21-5-2 with Clark on the team.
1957 National Champion.
1957 Big Ten Title.
1958 Defeated Oregon 10-7 to win the Rose Bowl.
1957 All-Big Ten.
1958 All-Big Ten.
Donald Clark's Ohio State career per Wikipedia:
Clark played his college football with the powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes. Playing from 1956 to 1958, he was integral part of their 1958 Rose Bowl victory and national championship.
An All-American, he was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bears, even though he was injured.
Clark spurns the NFL for the CFL per Wikipedia:
Canada was Clark's preferred destination, and he signed with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1959.
After rushing for 343 yards, he couldn't agree on contract terms with Ottawa, and was traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who promptly dealt him to the Montreal Alouettes.
Clark retired in 1964, only 27 years old, due to knee, rib and kidney injuries.
Video of 1958 Rose Bowl (Spoiler Alert, Ohio State defeats Oregon in yet another Rose Bowl.):
Andy Groom, P (1999-2002)
Born: 1979 (Columbus)
High School: Hartley (Columbus)
The Buckeyes were 35-15 with Groom on the team.
2002 National Champion.
2002 Big Ten Title.
2002 All-Big Ten.
Highlights of Andy Groom's Ohio State career:
- Groom finished his Buckeye career with the highest punting average (45.0 yards per punt) in school history.
- He totaled 2,697 punting yards which ranks him sixth on the all-time list.
- Groom punted for Ohio State during the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
*Wore No. 55 when drafted
#Wore No. 20 when drafted
Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide and Jason Priestas
108 days until The Game.