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Digging Deeper: Players Who Wore No. 78

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Matt Gutridge's picture
June 15, 2018 at 8:21am
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Today's article will list the 24 players who wore the No. 78 for Ohio State. Featured players are Daniel Porretta, Korey Stringer and Andrew Norwell. Both the Daniel Porretta and Korey Stringer stories are well worth the reads. Hopefully the tragedies that have struck the No. 78 are over.

Players Who Wore No. 78 At Ohio State
PLAYER WORN B1G MVP TEAM MVP AA CAPT. 1R NFL ALL B1G AC AA NFL DRAFT AC B1G LETTER
Thomas Cleary 1942                   1942
Ernest Santora 1945                    
Jack Dawson 1948                   1948
Harry Edgington 1951-52                    
Elbert Ebinger 1955                   1955
Albert Crawford 1956-58                   1956-58
George Tolford 1959-61               1961   1959-61
Daniel Porretta 1962-64           1964       1962-64
Donald Dwyer 1965-67                   1965-67
John Dombos 1968                    
Charles Beecroft 1971-72                   1971-72
Robert Coan 1973                    
Garth Cox 1974-76                    1974-76
Thomas Levenick 1979                   1979
Joseph Dooley 1981-83               1984   1981-83
Mike Durham 1984-86                    
Mick Shoaf 1989-91                   1989-91
Korey Stringer 1992-94   1994 1993, 1994   1995 1993, 1994       1992-94
Drew Elford 1995-99                   1996-99
Bryce Bishop* 2000-03                   2000-03
Daniel Dye 2004-07                   2007
Alex Barrow 2004-07                   2006-07
Andrew Norwell 2010-13           2012. 2013       2010-13
Demetrius Knox 2014-18                   2015, 2017

*Wore another number at Ohio State
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 78

Daniel Porretta, OL (1962-64)
Born: 
1944 (Clairton, PA)
Died: 2009 (Holland, MI)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 18-8-1 with Porretta on the team.
Porretta was 2-1 against That Team.

Honors
1964 All-Big Ten.

Miscellaneous:
Played both offense and defense his freshman and sophomore years.
Taught Physical Education at West Middle School in Holland, MI.
Lost a son to bone cancer in 1986.

Dan Porreata's bio from the 1964 Ohio State Team Guide:

6-1, 219...from Clairton, PA...starting his third season as a regular...played defensive right tackle as a sophomore in 1962 and offensive right guard last year...will play where he is most needed this season, probably at guard on offense...saw action in eight games for a total of 343.5 minutes, third highest on the squad...missed the Michigan game because of a foot injury...played 40 minutes or more in the first seven games last year.

A College of Education student majoring in biology...hobbies are reading and sports...did not miss a spring practice session in three years...young for a college senior, being born January 16, 1944...wears glasses off the field.

Porreata's football career per lifestory.com:

Dan attended local schools including a high school that was a perennial football powerhouse, which is where his love for the game was truly born. On one occasion when Dan was sent to football camp he faked an injury in order to come home. When his brother-in-law and role model, Jim Juliot, caught Dan goofing off, he invited Dan to go camping, but instead took him right back to football camp!

He became quite the football player and was eventually recruited by Woody Hayes from Ohio State University. Dan's father insisted that his football not get in the way of graduating, and Woody obliged by watching Dan's grades very closely.

Dan played on both the defensive and offensive teams until his junior year when he played only offense with Bo Schembecler as one of his coaches. Nera the end of his college career he tried to play football for the Canadian Football League but because they already had their quota of Americans, he returned to Ohio State to help coach the freshmen and graduate in 1966.

Dan Porretta's Life Story per lifestorynet.com:

Sometimes when people experience success it can change them into someone who thinks they are larger than life or at times, make them a bit arrogant. This is not who Daniel Porretta was at all since he used his talents and gifts as a tool to inspire others to achieve the same dream he was a part of for a time. Dan was large in stature, yet kind and tender on the inside, a gentle giant if ever there was one. He was a man of faith whose life reflected the beliefs that were engraved upon his heart - a true example of what it means to be the hands and feet of God.

Tragedy strikes the Porretta family per lifestory.com:

Life drastically changed for the Porretta family when Danny (Porretta's son) was diagnosed with bone cancer. For the next five years Danny fought hard while the rest of the family remained strong while by his side. Sadly, Danny's body could not conquer what his will was strong enough to overcome and he died in 1986. Although this was the most trying time parents can ever be required to experience, Dan and Deb found strength in both each other and in their faith.

Woody Hayes meets with Daniel Porretta and his cancer-stricken son Danny at Ohio Stadium in spring of 1985. *The audio is not the best:

Korey Stringer, OT (1992-94)
Born: 
1974 (Warren, Ohio)
Died: 2001 (Mankato, MN)
High School: Warren Harding

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 27-8-2 with Stringer on the team.
Defeated BYU 28-21 in the 1993 Holiday Bowl.
Stringer was 1-1-1 against That Team.

Honors
1994 Team MVP.
1993 All-American.
1994 All-American.
1993 All-Big Ten.
1994 All-Big Ten.

Miscellaneous:
His wife, Kelci Stringer, founded the Korey Stringer Institute at UConn in 2011.

Korey Stringer's bio from the 1994 Ohio State Team Guide:

6-5, 315...All-American who is a candidate for the Outland and Lombardi awards this season...extremely talented player who Coach John Cooper calls the best young lineman he has ever coached...won first team All-American honors last season, and has a chance to become Ohio State's first-ever three-time All-American offensive lineman...along with Dan Wilkinson, the first Buckeye sophomore to earn All-American laurels since 1979...dominates the line of scrimmage because of his excellent strength, footwork and technique...the unofficial team leader in "pancakes"...has outstanding work habits. 

An article by Rusty Miller on August 2, 2001 about the impact of Korey Stringer's life:

Ohio State was in the middle of preparations for the 1996 Citrus Bowl but all was not fun in the sun in Orlando, Fla. A roster full of homesick 20-year-olds was virtually locked away in a hotel, far from their families over the holidays. Despite the ribbing he took from teammates, Korey Stringer pulled on a Santa Claus costume and handed out presents at the team Christmas party.

It was vintage Stringer, the Minnesota Vikings' tackle who died suddenly Wednesday morning.

Stringer suffered from heat stroke during Tuesday's workouts and was rushed to a hospital. The 27-year-old husband and father died after his vital organs shut down one by one.

"He was a gentle heart, very approachable," said Steven Arnold, an assistant coach during Stringer's days at Harding High School in Warren, Ohio.

That never changed, even after he was taken in the first round of the 1995 draft by the Vikings, after he signed big-money contracts, after he developed into one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL.

Arnold said he saw Stringer last week and mentioned the equipment needs of a local youth football team. "He went to his truck and said, 'Here.' He endorsed his Pro Bowl check, Arnold said.

At 6-foot-4 and 335 pounds, Stringer was someone who was quick with a laugh and hard to forget.

For three years with the Buckeyes, Eddie George - now with the Tennessee Titans - ran through holes in the line created by the massive Stringer.

"He was probably the greatest tackle in Ohio State history as far as athletic ability and attitude," George said. "He brought that toughness to the line and (was) a great guy to be around in the locker room."

Derrick Alexander, a Cleveland Browns scout who was drafted by the Vikings the same year as Stringer, said his lasting memory is of Stringer's smile -even on a day when he was manhandled by Green Bay's Reggie White.

"Korey had his worst game and Reggie White had his best game," Alexander said. "But he was on the sideline and, regardless of how bad the situation was, he lightened the blow. Korey found a way to lighten the loss and that's just the kind of character and person that he is."

A former linemate with the Vikings, Everett Lindsay, said of Stringer: "He was a comedian. He was really funny. He would make you laugh all the time. He would meet a new guy and after only two minutes he could do a great imitation of him."

Stringer started at right tackle the past two years for the Vikings, making his home in the Twin Cities area and giving his time to local charities.

He left behind a wife and young son.

Corey Fuller, now a cornerback with the Browns, was a friend of Stringer's when he played with the Vikings. After hearing of Stringer's death, he spent Wednesday morning crying with two other former Minnesota teammates, Dwayne Rudd and Stalin Colinet.

"He left a great legacy for his son, a lot of great things for his son to be proud of," Fuller said. "He didn't come into this league and walk his way through it. He played hard." 

Andrew Norwell, OG (2010-2013)
High School: 
Anderson (Cincinnati) 

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 42-10* with Norwell on the team.
Defeated Arkansas 31-26 in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
Went 12-0 on 2012.
3-1 against That Team.
*NCAA's 2010 vacated wins be damned.

Honors
2012 All-B1G.
2013 All-B1G.

Andrew Norwell's Ohio State career per The 2013 Ohio State Team Guide:

Andrew Norwell is a key leader on the 2013 Ohio State football team, having battled in the trenches in 36 games and with a team-best total (along with Jack Mewhort) of 25 starting assignments, all of them consecutive and with the last 20 starts at the left guard position …

Norwell’s importance to the team and fine play has not gone unnoticed: he was named first-team all-Big Ten Conference (media voters) following the Buckeyes’ undefeated 2012 season, he was an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection as a sophomore in 2011 (coaches and media) and he was named by Rivals.com to a Big Ten all-freshman team in 2010 …

Norwell played more downs on offense last season – 862 – than any other Buckeye, and he played so well the Ohio State coaches named him the
team’s co-offensive lineman of the year (along with Mewhort) … he was on the line for a mind-boggling 827 of the team’s 837 offensive plays (98.8 percent) from scrimmage last year (as were line mates Mewhort and Marcus Hall) …

Norwell & Co. helped the Ohio State offense average 242.2 yards per game rushing (10th nationally) in 2012, lead the Big Ten in scoring at 37.1 points per game and score a 34-year team high 37 rushing touchdowns … Norwell played in all 13 games in 2011 and started at both the left guard and left
tackle positions …

he started the season at left tackle for the first five games and then moved to left guard, where he started the final eight games … he was the primary backup at right tackle in 2010 as a true freshman, playing in 11 games … he has not had a haircut since enrolling at Ohio State in August 2010.

No. 78 In The NFL Draft
NAME YEAR ROUND PICK POS TEAM
GEORGE TOLFORD 1961 18 241 T REDSKINS
JOSEPH DOOLEY 1984 10 274 C RAMS
KOREY STRINGER 1995 1 24 OT VIKINGS

Not sure how George Tolford was selected by the Redskins in 1961. He was on Ohio State's roster and played for the Buckeyes in 1961. I thought perhaps it was because the '61 Draft was held in December. However, it was held in December of 1960, not December of 1961.

Every account of the 1961 NFL Draft has Tolford going to the Redskins in the 18th round with the 241st pick.

Previous Numbers
99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90
89 88 87 86 85 84 83 82 81 80
79 78                

161 days until The Game and That Team still sucks.

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