When Ohio State fans think of the No. 36, Chris Spielman immediately comes to mind. However, Spielman was the last of three great Buckeye linebackers to wear the No. 36 consecutively between the years 1975 and 1987. Today's article will feature Tom Cousineau, Marcus Marek and Chris Spielman.
The play of these linebackers wearing the No. 36 helped solidify Ohio State as “Linebacker University”. Cousineau, Marek and Spielman hold many Ohio State records and terrorized opposing offenses. Imagine the havoc and destruction they would have caused if they played for Ohio State at the same time.
Tom Cousineau, LB (1975-78)
Born: 1957 (Fairview Park, Ohio)
High School: Lakewood St. Edward
The Buckeyes were 36-10-1 with Cousineau on the team.
1975 Big Ten Title.
1976 Big Ten Title.
1977 Big Ten Title.
1977 Defeated Colorado 27-10 to win the Orange Bowl.
1978 Team Captain.
1978 All-Big Ten.
1977 All-Big Ten.
1977 Orange Bowl Defensive MVP.
1976 All-Big Ten.
1995 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame.
Tom Cousineau's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
Tom Cousineau was a two-time All-American for the Buckeyes. In 1977, he was named the top defensive player in the Orange Bowl. His 211 tackles in 1978 still stands as a single season school record. Against Penn State in 1978, Cousineau was in on 29 total tackles, at the time an Ohio State record that was tied by Chris Spielman.
Cousineau also holds the school record for most solo tackles in a single game (16 against SMU in 1978). Six of the Top 10 single game tackle performances in school history are held by Cousineau. He ranks second on both the all-time OSU tackle list with 569 (three behind Marcus Marek) and on the career solo tackles list with 259.
The start of Cousineau's pro football career per Wikipedia:
Cousineau was drafted first overall in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, who acquired the pick from the San Francisco 49ers in a trade for O.J. Simpson. Cousineau never played a game with the Bills. He instead signed with the Canadian Football League Montreal Alouettes where they offered double the money that the Bills originally offered. Cousineau became a star there, becoming the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in the 1979 season.
Cousineau wanted to return to the NFL, and in 1982 the Houston Oilers attempted to sign him, but the Bills (who still held Cousineau's NFL rights) matched the offer.
He was then traded from the Bills to the Cleveland Browns for a first round draft choice (14th overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft. That pick was used on future Hall of Fame quarterbackJim Kelly. Cousineau signed a five-year contract for 2.5 million dollars, the most ever for a Cleveland Brown player at the time.
Life after football per Wikipedia:
...On February 8, 2006, Cousineau announced plans to run for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives as a Republican in the Akron, Ohio area. He won the May primary but lost the November election to Democrat Brian Williams by a margin of 58% to 42%.
On April 20, 2009, Cousineau joined the St. Vincent – St. Mary High School football coaching staff as a linebackers coach.
Marcus Marek, LB (1979-82)
The Buckeyes were 38-10 with Marek on the team.
1979 Big Ten Title.
1981 Big Ten Title.
1981 Defeated Navy 31-28 to win the Liberty Bowl.
1982 Defeated BYU 47-17 to win the Holiday Bowl.
Went 3-1 against That Team.
1982 All-Big Ten.
1981 All-Big Ten.
1980 Academic All-American.
1980 Academic All-Big Ten.
1999 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame.
Marcus Marek's Ohio State career per 10tv.com:
No one has brought down more ball-carriers as a Buckeye then Marcus Marek. A four-year starter from 1979 through 82, Marek made 572 career tackles, edging Tom Cousineau for the all-time lead.
From Vienna, Ohio, in Trumbull County, he was the first player in OSU history to lead the team in tackles three straight seasons, earning All-Big Ten honors each time.
In 1982, Marek was named All-American. His 178 tackles that year still represents the third highest single-season total in school annals. On senior day against Michigan, Marek made a career-high 21 tackles, and intercepted a pass to set up the Buckeyes final points in a 24-14 win.
Marek ranks first in all-time assisted tackles at Ohio State with 316, and his 256 solo stops place him third in that category.
Chris Spielman, LB (1984-87)
Born: 1965 (Canton)
High School: Massillon Washington
The Buckeyes were 34-13-1 with Spielman on the team.
1984 Big Ten Title.
1986 Big Ten Title.
1985 Defeated BYU 10-7 in the Citrus Bowl.
1987 Defeated Texas A&M 28-12 in the Cotton Bowl.
1985 Defeated No. Iowa 22-13 in Ohio Stadium.
Went 2-2 against That Team.
1987 Team MVP.
1987 Lombardi Award.
1987 All-Big Ten.
1987 Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP.
1986 All-Big Ten.
1985 All-Big Ten.
2000 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame.
2009 Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Chris Spielman's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:
Chris Spielman is in the Ohio State records book for a number of reasons. He led the Buckeyes in total tackles in 1986 and 1987 and is Ohio State’s all-time leader in solo tackles. He also holds the OSU record for most total tackles in a game. A three-time all-Big Ten choice and a two-time All-American, Spielman concluded his brilliant career in 1987 by winning the Lombardi Award.
But it was not so much what he did as the way he did it. Those people who claim “You can’t measure heart,” never saw Spielman play. Intense and competitive almost beyond description, Spielman played every down of every game as if the national championship were on the line. Few players have ever been as focused on the playing field.
Spielman was a three-year starter and would have been a four-year regular were it not for two sprained ankles that greatly limited his playing time as a freshman. Still, he collected 546 career tackles, a total that places him third on the all-time OSU list behind Marcus Marek (572) and Tom Cousineau (569).
Spielman’s tackle total includes a school-record 283 solo stops. The Massillon, Ohio, native had his best year in 1986 as a junior, recording 205 total stops, including an OSU record 105 solos. His best game that year was a school record-tying 29 total tackles against Michigan.
Spielman’s Ohio State teams won two Big Ten titles. He played in the Rose and Cotton bowls and was defensive MVP in the latter as a senior.
Upon leaving Ohio State, Spielman became recognized as one of the NFL’s top players, finishing his 12-year career in 1999 with the Cleveland Browns. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, he is a 2000 inductee into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame and a 2009 enshrinee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Chris Spielman's life after football per chrisspielman.com:
Currently, Chris is a college football analyst with ESPN, a Professional Speaker and his most important role besides being a father of 4, is that of a Cancer Warrior – Chris continues the fight that he and Stefanie started together shortly after her first diagnosis. He found his biggest opponent to be off the field.
Chris’ life has order: Faith, Family and Community – and he lives it daily in that order.
Chris continues the fight against cancer with The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.
A great piece on Chris Spielman from Buckeye Classics:
Spielman and the Ohio State defense create five turnovers in the Buckeyes upset over No. 1 Iowa in the rain:
126 days until The Game.