All good things must come to an end. Today is the last article in the Countdown series. A big thank you to those of you who have read all, or the majority, of these articles. As this series ends the Ohio State 2014 season is a day away from beginning.
Throughout the years of Ohio State football, 25 players have worn the No. 1 since 1933. To see the list, go here.
Today's featured players are Tom Skladany, Mike Lanese, Daniel "Boom" Herron and Bradley Roby.
Tom Skladany, P/K (1973-76)
Born: 1955 (Bethel Park, PA)
High School: Bethel Park
The Buckeyes were 40-5-2 with Skladany on the team.
1973 Big Ten Title.
1974 Big Ten Title.
1975 Big Ten Title.
1976 Big Ten Title.
1974 Defeated No. 7 USC 42-21 to win the Rose Bowl.
1976 Defeated No. 12 Colorado 27-10 to win the Orange Bowl.
1975 Defeated No. 7 Penn State 17-9.
1976 Defeated No. 7 Penn State 12-7 in Happy Valley.
1974 Defeated That Team 12-10.
1975 Defeated That Team 21-14
1976 All-Big Ten.
1975 All-Big Ten.
Skladany's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
OSU’s most recent three-time All-American, Tom Skladany was a punter and kicker between 1973-76 and the first kicking specialist ever to receive a football scholarship at Ohio State. He proved his worth immediately, landing the job as the Buckeyes’ No. 1 punter as a freshman. He also kicked off as a freshman and sophomore.
As a junior and senior, he added PATs and field goals to his list of responsibilities. Skladany averaged 45.6 yards per punt as a sophomore and was named to the Football Writers All-America Team. He was a consensus All-America choice the next two years, again leading the country in 1975 with a 46.7 average.
As a senior, he averaged 42.3 yards per kick and finished his career with a 42.7 average on 160 punts. That’s good for second on the all-time list, as is his yardage figure of 6,838. Skladany was co-captain of the 1976 squad, the first specialist ever chosen as a Buckeye captain.
The six-year NFL veteran was a 1991 inductee to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see Skladany play for the Buckeyes. He finished his Ohio State career the year I was born.
I think he might have been fairly good considering he was named an All-American three times and All-Big Ten twice. Skladany was also the first specialist to be given a scholarship to Ohio State.
Skladany and the NFL Draft per Blair Conway:
Skladany was drafted by the Browns in the second round (pick 46) of the 1977 draft. They would not pay him second round money so he sat out 1977. He was traded to Detroit in 1978 and paid correctly.
The Buckeye Grove had this article on him:
In this edition of Time and Change we have the chance to visit with the greatest combination punter/kicker in Ohio State history, Tom Skladany. Skladany was an All-American for the Buckeyes from 1974-1976 and played six years in the NFL for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles.
During Skladany's career with the Buckeyes the team went a very impressive 40-5-2.
Skladany is also mentioned throughout the Ohio State record books in the top five of most kicking and punting categories but in my opinion the most impressive record that still stands is the longest field goal of 59 yards versus the University of Illinois in 1975.
Skladany then talked about his game-changing play in The Game in 1974:
It was late in the fourth quarter and the score was close like most of the Ohio State Michigan games were back then. We were leading 14-12 and we had fourth down on our own seven-yard line.
90,000 people in the stadium were at fever pitch and I had to punt from eight yards deep in the end zone. If I have a bad punt, they would get a chance at a field goal to win the game. "I go into the game and I couldn't feel or hear a thing. I caught the snap, I made the punt and thought it might have been blocked because I didn't even feel it come off my foot. I didn't come to until I felt my team mates slapping me on my helmet and shoulder pads on the sideline.
"I had hit a 63 yarder and we went on to win the game. One of the writers wrote after the game that, 'Ohio State won 14-12, by two feet? Tom Klaban's (four field goals) and Tom Skladany's'.
Mike Lanese, WR (1982-1985)
High School: Mayfield
The Buckeyes were 36-12 with Lanese on the team.
1984 Big Ten Title.
1982 Defeated BYU 47-17 to win the Holiday Bowl.
1983 Defeated No. 15 Pitt 28-23 to win the Fiesta Bowl.
1985 Defeated No. 9 BYU 10-7 to win the Citrus Bowl.
1983 Defeated No. 2 Oklahoma 24-14 in Norman.
1985 Defeated No. 1 Iowa 22-13 in Columbus.
1982 Defeated That Team 24-14.
1984 Defeated That Team 21-6.
1984 Academic All-American.
1985 Academic All-American.
1985 National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarship Winner.
1984 Academic All-Big Ten.
Mike Lanese's name only appears twice in the Ohio State record book for receiving. He ranks 13th all-time averaging 16.1 yards per reception and 23rd with 1,175 yards receiving.
So, why is he in this article besides the fact he was a captain of the 1985 team that defeated Pittsburgh 10-7? Because he made one of the best catches in The Game. Not as amazing and clutch as Anthony Gonzalez', but close.
Here are Lanese's thoughts about his catch in The Game per The Ohio State Alumni Association Magazine:
YOUR 17-YARD CATCH ON THIRD AND 14 AGAINST MICHIGAN IN 1984 IS STILL A PLAY MANY BUCKEYE FANS REMEMBER. WHAT DO YOU RECALL ABOUT THAT PLAY, AND DO YOU STILL HEAR ABOUT IT FROM FANS?
It's always a surprise to me, but I still get comments about it. At about this time every year-especially now that I live in the Columbus area-a few people stop me on the street or send an e-mail and congratulate me for the catch.
I've always found it interesting that no one ever seems to remember that, before the catch, there was a fumble. With a few minutes left in the first half, I tried to return a punt and ended up fumbling the ball inside of our own 20 yard line.
But as a result of the 17-yard catch in the second half, I was selected as the MVP of the game. Without the catch, I could have easily become the LVP. It's funny how a few rotations of the ball can end up determining how you're perceived by the public for years to come.
I wrote about the game and catch in some detail a few years ago for a chapter in a book called Game of My Life - Ohio State . I posted the chapter in a blog I write for Buckeye Legends.
Lanese's career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
Mike Lanese always will occupy a special place in
the hearts and minds of Ohio State fans everywhere.
His clutch grab against Michigan in 1984 has
become known as “The Catch” and is one of the
most memorable receptions in Ohio State history.
But Lanese’s legacy also includes some memorable
accomplishments in the classroom, where after twice
being named to the Academic All-America team, he
was named a Rhodes Scholar in 1985. The former
OSU flanker is the last Big Ten football player to be
so honored. After completing his studies at Oxford,
Lanese served in the U.S. Navy.
Daniel "Boom" Herron, RB (2007-11)
Born: 1989 (Warren, Ohio)
High School: Warren Harding
The Buckeyes were 44-8 with Herron on the team.
2007 Big Ten Title.
2008 Big Ten Title.
2009 Big Ten Title.
2010 Defeated No. 7 Oregon 26-17 to win the Rose Bowl.
2011 Defeated No. 8 Arkansas to win the Sugar Bowl.
2007 Defeated That Team 14-3.
2008 Defeated That Team 42-7.
2009 Defeated That Team 21-10.
2010 Defeated That Team 37-7.
2011 Team MVP.
2008 Academic All-Big Ten.
Dan Herron was a fast and deceptively strong running back. He started his career behind Beanie Wells and Brandon Saine, but was the featured back his junior and senior season.
Herron, however, may be remembered as much for being apart of "Tat-Gate" as he will be remembered for his on-field performances.
Herron's Ohio State career per Wikipedia:
Herron spent five years at The Ohio State University. He was a four-time letterman.
In 2008 he struggled to get playing time over future NFL back Beanie Wells and again in 2009 splitting time with Brandon Saine in an offense heavily centered around the running talents of quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
In 2010, Herron delivered as the starter, totaling 1155 yards and 16 touchdowns. Later that year, just a week before the team's appearance in their bowl game, it became eminent that Herron, amongst other top Buckeye players were facing substantial NCAA sanctions.
On December 23, 2010 Herron and four other Ohio State players were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, but were still allowed to play in that year's Sugar Bowl, which they won 31-26 vs. Arkansas. Herron was said to have sold a jersey, pants, and shoes that he had previously worn in a game.
On October 3, 2011, in an unrelated story, Herron was suspended for one more week due to being overpaid during a summer job in the Cleveland area. Despite the six week suspension Dan Herron was elected a team captain by his teammates and went on to rush for 675 yards and three touchdowns the remainder of the season.
Bradley Roby, CB (2010-13)
Born: 1992 (Fort Worth, TX)
High School: Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, GA)
The Buckeyes were 42-10 with Roby on the team.
2012 B1G Leaders Title.
2013 B1G Leaders Title.
2011 Defeated No. 8 Arkansas 31-26 to win the Sugar Bowl.
2010 Defeated That Team 37-7.
2012 Defeated That Team 26-21.
2013 Defeated That Team 42-41.
2012 All-Big Ten.
Roby's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
Ohio State Overview: 2012 first-team All-American (ESPN.com)
Bradley Roby is a talented, athletic and fast (consistent 4.3 40s)
cornerback who has started all 25 games the past two seasons...
expect this fourth-year junior, who has five career interceptions
in addition to 23 pass break-ups, to be one of the best, if not the
best, cornerback in the nation in 2013 …
Roby was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 2012 when he led the nation in passes defended with 19 (17 pass break-ups, which tied the OSU single season record, and two interceptions) and 1.73 per game…
was named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and Walter Camp … a first-team all-Big Ten Conference performer by both the coach and media polls...
Roby was the only defensive player in the nation last year to score touchdowns three different ways (recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone vs. Miami; he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone vs. Indiana; and he intercepted a pass vs. Nebraska and returned it for a touchdown)…
he blocked a punt in the one-point win at Michigan State and he was third on the team in tackles with 63.
Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide
91 days until The Game.