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Digging Deeper: Players Who Wore No. 54

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Matt Gutridge's picture
July 9, 2018 at 12:28am

In 54 days Ohio State will host Oregon State to start the 2018 season. Today's article will list the 31 players who wore the No. 54 for the Buckeyes. Featured players are Mark Stier, Tim Anderson, John Simon and Billy Price.

Today's Trivia Question

Mark Stier is the uncle of a Buckeye who started in the secondary for the 2002 National Championship team. Can you name that player?

Players Who Wore No. 54 At Ohio State
George Kabealo 1932-34                    
William Bullock 1938                   1938
Arthur Linkins 1940                    
Paul Selby 1942                    
Charles Renner 1944, 1947-48                    
Robert Heid 1949-51       1951           1949-51
Richard Nosky 1953                    
Karl Sommer 1954-56                   1956
Don Crowl 1957                    
James Lindner 1959-60                   1959-60
Dennis Carter 1961-62                    
Jon Rogovin 1963                    
Jerry Truster 1964                    
Mark Stier 1966-68   1968   1968     1968   1966, 1968 1966-68
James Conroy 1969                   1969
James Meckstroth 1971-72                    
Kenneth Kuhn 1972-75       1975       1976 1974, 1975 1972-75
Tim Vogler* 1976                   1976
Luther Henson 1977-80           1979       1977-80
Spencer Nelms 1981-83                 1982, 1983 1981-83
Pat Thomas 1987-89                   1987-89
Scott Sharp* 1989                    
Brian Stoughton 1991-95                 1994, 1995 1995
Aaron Ebersole 1994                    
Tim Anderson 1999-03       2003   2003   2004   2000-03
Brandon Smith* 2004                    
Tyler Whaley* 2004-06                    
John Simon 2009-12   2012   2011, 2012   2011, 2012   2013   2009-12
Bryce Haynes* 2011                    
Billy Price 2013-17     2016, 2017 2016, 2017 2018 2016, 2017     2014, 2017 2014-17
Matthew Jones 2018                    

*Wore another number at Ohio State
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 54

Mark Stier

Mark Stier, LB (1966-68)
High School:
 Louisville (Louisville, Ohio)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 20-8 with Stier on the team.
1968 National Champion.
1968 Big Ten Title.
Defeated USC 27-16 in the 1969 Rose Bowl.
Went 2-1 against That Team.

1968 Captain.
1968 Team MVP.
1968 Academic All-American.
1968 Academic All-Big Ten.
1966 Academic All-Big Ten.

Stier's Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-1, 202...from Louisville, Ohio...played 167 minutes as a sophomore and 134 as a junior...an injury reduced his play to a token appearance in the Illinois and Michigan State games...very competitive and learns quickly...figures to start at linebacker this year for Ohio State.

Was a three-sport award winner in high school...won all-Ohio honors...played end on offense and linebacker on defense...was captain of his high school football, basketball and baseball teams...his Louisville High teams lost only one game in three years.

Stier's Ohio State recruitment and career per the cantonrep.com:

Woody Hayes showed up at Mark Stier’s high school football banquet in 1964 and unexpectedly offered him a scholarship.

“I think my words back to him were, ‘I’m not sure I’m good enough,’ ” Stier 

Sure, Stier knocked ball carriers senseless as a Louisville linebacker. He also played offensive line and helped keep tacklers off Notre Dame-bound Bob Gladieux.

But Ohio State? The Big Ten? Saturdays in The Horseshoe?

“It’s a little different than playing Leetonia on a Friday night with 1,500 people there,” Stier observed.


Stier was ready to choose between the Naval Academy and Kent State when Hayes swept in with the offer. He eventually persuaded Stier and his parents that OSU was the right choice, but that didn’t necessarily put Stier at ease. He was No. 32 of 32 possible scholarships. “What does that tell you?” he asked.

Over time, Stier settled in and realized he could compete with anybody.

When the Buckeyes went with a youth movement, Stier found himself starting at linebacker as a sophomore. A difficult growing process began. OSU went 4-5 in 1966 and 6-3 in 1967.

Bolstered by a sophomore class that included the likes of Rex Kern, Jack Tatum and Jim Stillwagon, the 1968 Buckeyes anticipated a big season.

“We thought there was great potential, but that remained to be seen,” Stier said. “How are these guys going to do under fire? So my job as a senior captain, senior linebacker was to keep a lid on this thing.”

A 13-0 win over No. 1-ranked Purdue in Week 3 opened eyes. A 50-14 drubbing of Michigan in the regular-season finale sent the Buckeyes to Pasadena to face The Juice and the Trojans.

“It’s rags to riches. It’s Cinderella. It’s whatever you want to call it,” Stier said. “A bunch of Midwest kids who have never been anywhere. It was truly an advantage for us. We went out there with huge chips on our shoulders. We were the underdogs. We weren’t supposed to do anything.”

The Buckeyes overcame a 10-0 first-half deficit to win, 27-16. The kid who didn’t know if he was good enough stood on top of the college football world.

Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson, LB (1999-2003)
1980 (Clyde, Ohio)
High School: Clyde

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 46-17 with Anderson on the team.
2002 National Champion.
2002 Big Ten Title.
Defeated Miami 31-24 (2OT) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Defeated Kansas State 35-28 in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl. 
Knocked down Jon Beutjer's fourth-down pass on the final play to give Ohio State a 23-16 overtime victory over Illinois in 2002.

2003 Captain.
2003 All-Big Ten.

Anderson's career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-4, 289...from Clyde, Ohio...Returns for his third year as a starter at defensive tackle...listed on the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy...tough competitive football player with a blue-collar mentality...won second-team All-Big Ten honors last year and should be a first-team selection this year...anchors the inside and gives everything he has on every play...coaches love his work ethic and mental toughness...soft spoken off the field, but all business once he steps between the lines...underrated by some, but not by his teammates...one of those players who never wants to come out of the game...his gesture of sportsmanship with Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey at the end of the Fiesta Bowl Game was one of the most memorable moments of a very memorable season.

Won first-team All-Ohio honors and was a USA Today Honorable Mention All-America selection...undefeated and state heavyweight wrestling champion as a senior.

John Simon

John Simon, DE (2009-12)
1990 (Youngstown)
High School: Cardinal Mooney

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 41-10 with Simon on the team.
2012 team was undefeated (12-0).
2009 Big Ten Title.
Defeated Oregon 26-17 to win the 2010 Rose Bowl.
Defeated Arkansas 31-26 to win the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
5 tackles for loss against Nebraska (2012) ranks first all-time at Ohio State for TFL in a game.
4 sacks at Wisconsin (2012) ranks first all-time at Ohio State for sacks in a game.
Went 3-1 against That Team.

2012 Captain.
2012 Team MVP.
2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
2012 All-Big Ten.
2011 Captain.
2011 All-Big Ten.

Simon's career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-2, 260...from Youngstown, Ohio...Good luck trying to find anyone in college football this year more aggressive or relentless along the defensive line than John Simon...or a better leader on and off the field...his efforts are exemplary, always, and he takes the added measure of pulling guys along with him --- Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant are two of his 6 a.m. workout buddies --- for extra running, training or studying, something Coach Meyer calls "harnessing the power of the elite"..."Ohio State is getting better," Meyer says, [because Simon is leading the way].

Expect Simon to become only the seventh two-time captain in Ohio State history this season and the first since James Laurinaitis (2007 and 2009)...he enters his senior campaign with 11.5 career sacks and 28.5 career tackles-for-loss...Simon played multiple positions along the line last season and lead the Buckeyes with seven quarterback sacks and 16 tackles for loss (for minus minus-59 yards)...he also accumulated 53 tackles and broke up three passes.

John is majoring in sports & leisure studies...he was a two-time all-state honoree for coach P.J. Fecko at Cardinal Mooney...state's Division IV and NE Ohio's defensive player of the year as a senior when he had 148 tackles, 13 TFL's, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles...helped Cardinal Mooney to three state title games and a regional semifinals appearance...played in the U.S. Army All-American game...member of the National Honor Society and a Cardinal Mooney Ambassador.

Simon's famous speech after defeating Cal in the 2012 season per the akronbeaconjournal.com:

Ohio State senior defensive lineman John Simon’s postgame speech was so stirring that coach Urban Meyer vowed to name his next child after him.

The co-captain addressed the team after a 35-28 victory over the University of California Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Simon had battled a shoulder injury all week and although trainers kept telling Meyer that he should be fine, it didn’t heal as quickly as they had hoped.

Yet Simon played anyway, finishing with one tackle for loss and a sack.

“He just lost it in the locker room as far as just sharing, opening up his soul,” Meyer said. “It makes us all look in the mirror and say, ‘Are we doing enough for our team?’

“Can you put a jersey up there or something that says John Simon, because that’s a grown-ass man, excuse my language. If we have another child, I want to name him Urban John Simon Meyer or something. That’s how much I love that guy.”

Simon joked about the improbability of another Meyer child.

“That’s between him and Shelley,” Simon said of Meyer’s wife. “I don’t know if he’s planning on having another son, but that’s all in the family.”

Simon said he had never been as emotional after a game before and realized his speech took some teammates by surprise.

“I try to say things that are important and if I don’t have anything I feel is very important to say, I probably won’t say it,” he said. “That means when you speak, everyone listens. I didn’t mean to come out like that so much. But all the emotion that went into that game, I wanted to tell them how I felt.

“It was a tough thing all week dealing with it. I tried to get as much rehab as I could to make sure I was good to go. With the players and the coaches trusting in me that I could get my job done, I was blessed to be put out on the field today.”

Simon’s speech inspired many Buckeyes.

“It’s something I know I’ll never forget,” junior left tackle Jack Mewhort said.

Sophomore receiver Devin Smith said Simon cried.

“You love that guy. It motivates me, seeing a guy who’s going to play in the NFL and the way he works,” Smith said. “I want to emulate some of the things he does so I can make it there.”

Urban Meyer and Mike Vrabel are talk about John Simon in this article about Simon's work ethic from baltimoreravens.com.

Coach Meyer's "Grown-Ass Man" speech from The Lantern:

Billy Price

Billy Price, C (2013-17)
High School: Fitch (Austintown, Ohio)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 49-6 with Price as a varsity letterman.
2014 National Champion.
2014 Big Ten Title.
2015 Big Ten East Title.
2016 Big Ten East Title.
2017 Big Ten Title.
Defeated No. 1 Alabama 42-35 to win the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
Defeated No. 2 Oregon 42-20 to win the CFP National Championship.
Defeated No. 8 Notre Dame to win the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.
Defeated No. 8 USC  24-7 to win the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
Went 4-0 against That Team.

2017 Captain.
2017 All-American.
2017 Rimington Award.
2017 All-Big Ten.
2017 Academic All-Big Ten.
2016 Captain.
2016 All-American.
2016 All-Big Ten.
2014 Academic All-Big Ten.
Has the most consecutive starts in Ohio State history with 55

Price's career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-4, 312...from Austintown, Ohio...Billy Price is a returning first-team All-American and all-Big Ten Conference performer who will be one of the top centers in the nation and a Rimington Award candidate...he is following the trail blazed in 2016 by teammate Pat Elflein in moving from guard to center as a senior...Price has started every game the past three seasons, including the 2014 campaign when Ohio State won the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship...he is the unquestioned leader along an offensive line that returns four of five starters from a year ago.

Price was the Associated Press's 2012 Division I co-defensive player of the year in the state of Ohio (along with teammate Tracy Sprinkle) and a first-team all-state pick...Price was the third Buckeye to commit to the class of 2013 with his decision coming Feb. 13, 2012...was named first-team all-state as a junior when he recorded 40 tackles with three sacks, 10 TFLs and an interception...placed seventh in the discus at the 2012 Ohio outdoor state track and field meet after placing sixth in the shot and second in the weight throw indoors.

No. 54 In The NFL Draft
Today's Trivia Question

Mark Stier is the uncle of a Buckeye who started in the secondary for the 2002 National Championship team. Can you name that player?

Answer: Dustin Fox.

Previous Numbers
99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90
89 88 87 86 85 84 83 82 81 80
79 78 77 76 75 74 73 72 71 70
69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 61 60
59 58 57 56 55 54        

137 days until The Game.

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