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Digging Deeper: Players Who Wore No. 46

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Matt Gutridge's picture
July 17, 2018 at 7:01am

Only 46 days until Ohio State starts the 2018 against Oregon State. Below, you will find the 32 players who wore No. 46 for Ohio State. Today's featured players are Bob Ferguson, Ted Provost and Tim Spencer.

Bob Ferguson had a great Ohio State career. Woody considered Ferguson his best fullback. Unfortunately his collegiate success did not transfer to the NFL. More on Bob Ferguson's intriguing life is below.

Players Who Wore No. 46 At Ohio State
Mark Fleming 1933-34                    
Frank Mastako 1937                    
Leonard Thom 1939-40                   1939-40
Donald Steinberg* 1942                   1942
George Gordon* 1944                   1944
Park Blubaugh 1949                    
Earle Bruce* 1950                    
Robert Bond* 1952-53                   1952-53
Kenneth Thompson 1955                   1955
John Dresser 1957-58                    
Bob Ferguson 1959-61     1960, 1961   1962 1960, 1961       1959-61
Donald Harkins 1962-64                   1962-64
Stanley Hamlin 1965-66                   1965
Ted Provost 1967-69     1969     1968-69   1970   1967-69
Jon Breuleux 1970                    
Mike Gaffney 1972                   1972
Steven Luke* 1973-74           1974   1975   1973-74
Duncan Griffin 1975-78                   1975-78
Tim Spencer 1979-82       1982   1981, 1982   1983   1988
Kenneth Blair 1984                   1984
Jim Peel 1987-90                   1987-90
Marlon Kerner 1991-94       1994       1995   1991-94
Marcel Willis 1995-97                   1995, 1997
Fred Pagac Jr. 1999-2003                 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 1999-2003
Chad Hoobler 2004-05                   2004-05
JD Larson 2006-08                   2008
KC Christian 2006-09                    
Grant Dziak 2009                    
Devin Hill 2013-14                    
Cinquan Haney 2015-17                    
Damon Arnette* 2018                    
Madu Enoli 2018                    

*Wore another number at Ohio State
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 46

Bob Ferguson

Bob Ferguson, FB (1959-61)
1939 (Troy, Ohio)
High School: Troy
Died: 2004 (Columbus)

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 18-7-2 with Ferguson on the team.
1961 National Champion.
1961 Big Ten Title.
Went 2-1 against That Team.

1961 Maxwell Award.
1961 All-American.
1961 All-Big Ten.
1961 Runner-up for Heisman Trophy.
1960 All-American.
1960 All-Big Ten.
1987 Inducted into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame.

Ferguson's career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-0, 217...from Troy, Ohio...won unanimous All-America honors last season after compiling a great record...scored 13 touchdowns, at least one in each game in 1960...had many long runs, four of 51 yards or more...carried 160 times for a net of 853, an average of 5.3 yards per carry...has unusual strength with powerful leg drive...majoring in physical education...hobby is fishing...from a family of four...played left halfback as a sophomore at Ohio State, averagin 6.1 yards per carry...during two years of competition, Ferguson has carried 221 times, gaining 1,224 yards and losing only one.

Is a strong linebacker on defense, but will likely see little action defensively...one of the strongest fullbacks in Ohio State history...will be a marked man in each Buckeye game this year.

Ferguson's Ohio State career per ohiostatebuckeyes.com:

At 6-1 and 220 pounds, Bob Ferguson was the consummate Ohio State fullback. A two-time All-American, Ferguson led Ohio State in rushing each of his three years as a starter He was the Maxwell Award winner and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1961. He helped lead the Buckeyes to the 1961 National Championship with a 8-0-1 record.

“Riches to Rags” excerpts from The Toledo Blade in November of 1975:

Bob Ferguson, once an All-America fullback for Ohio State University and a national college football player of the year in 1961, lay critically ill at Howard University Hospital last week, stricken while living here under an assumed name, working as a laborer, to escape the bitter shortcomings of a life that never fulfilled the promise of his college days.

News of his condition—a stroke at age 35—and his presence in Washington has stunned his friends and family around Columbus, where he rose to national fame.

They say that Ferguson disappeared four years ago, leaving behind a wife and four children and that he had not been heard of since, even at the death of his parents.

Ferguson's NFL Career per The Toledo Blade:

“Bob's publicity killed him.” said Ed Kiely, press aide for the Steelers, in a 1962 interview.

“All the pros heard was that Ferguson lost only six yards rushing in his college career, three as a sophomore, one as a junior, and two as a senior.


Everybody wanted to get Ferguson behind the line of scrimmage, right from the first exhibition game. In one of his first exhibitions against the Detroit Lions, Kiely said “Carl Brettschneider, the Detroit Lions linebacker, got him two yards behind the line of scrimmage and told him, “This isn't the Big Ten Conference now, boy. Get up and try again.”

Ferguson's life after the NFL:

Ferguson went back to Columbus in late 1964 and found a job as a social worker with the Ohio Youth Commission. “He didn't talk about pro football. He kept most of his problems to himself,” Paul Martin, Ferguson's teammate and roommate, recalled.


“The kids idolized him, they really loved that guy,” said John Mummey, quarterback on Ferguson's college team. “But when you'd run into him you'd get the feeling he was thinking, 'Here I am working in Westinghouse and coaching this little football team and you're over at Ohio State, where I should be and I'm not and I'm ashamed. But he shouldn't have felt like that.”

Until last week, Salle Ferguson Thorpe said, no one she knew in Ohio had heard from Bob Ferguson in four years. “My parents passed away in 1973.” she said. “They never did understand why he did it. It really hurt both of them.”

All that Mrs. Thorpe could learn about Bob Ferguson's life the last few years was that he worked in construction under an assumed name and was laid off six months ago.

A health scare in 1975 and his time in Washington:

He was listed in critical condition, suffering from a subarachnoid hemorrage, or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. He brought himself to the hospital October 28. His condition, according to Salle Thorpe, who is a nurse, is one caused in part by emotional stress.


Ferguson's only known friend in Washington is Woodson Davis, a social studies teacher at Hamilton Junior High School. Davis said Ferguson was well above his prime playing weight of 220 pounds spread on a 6-foot-2-inch frame, and weighed more than 250 pounds now.

“He said he gave away his trophies and wristwatches.” Davis said. “He didn't talk about his past in football. He has a lot of pride and he likes to keep things to himself. He's a fellow who just wants to be left alone.”

Ferguson's obituary per the LA Times:

Bob Ferguson, 64, an All-American fullback at Ohio State and the runner-up to Ernie Davis of Syracuse for the 1961 Heisman Trophy, died of complications from diabetes and strokes Thursday at his home in Columbus, Ohio.


After leaving football, Ferguson worked as a youth counselor in Columbus. He retired in 1990 because of health problems.

Ted Provost

Ted Provost, DB (1967-69)
1948 (Navarre, Ohio)
High School: Fairless

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 24-4 with Provost on the team.
1968 National Champion.
1968 Big Ten Title.
Defeated USC 27-16 to win the 1969 Rose Bowl.
Went 2-1 against That Team.

1969 All-American.
1969 All-Big Ten.
1968 All-Big Ten.
2004 Inducted into the Stark County High School Hall of Fame.
2006 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame.
2010 Inducted into the Fairless Ring of Honor.

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

6-3, 184...from Navarre, Ohio...one of the finest pass defenders in recent Ohio State history...starting his third season as a regular...intercepted seven passes in 1967 and four last year, including a game-breaking 35 yarder in the Purdue game...played offensive halfback in Fairless High...was a good high school baskteball player and an excellent rebounder.

Called "Teddy the Tree" because of his numerous "Buckeye Leafs", awarded for making a great play...of French descent...in the College of Engineering...plays the open side halfback...won nine high school letters...one of the top defensive backs in college.

Ted Provost's Ohio State career per ohiostatebuckeyes.com:

Three-time starter and letterwinner as a defensive back (1967-69) ... earned first team All-America accolades in 1969 ... first team All-Big Ten selection in 1968 and '69 ... played in 1969 East-West Shrine Bowl .

Member of 1968 national championship team and winning Rose Bowl team, with come-from-behind victory over Southern California ... returned an interception for a touchdown and the Buckeyes' first score in 13-0 win over Purdue in 1968, helping to keep the squad undefeated.

Woody Hayes' nickname for Provost per Wikipedia:

He was nicknamed "Tree" by legendary coach Woody Hayes after he collected so many of the "leaf" awards that were put on players helmets. The name did not come from his 6 foot 3 inch and 185 pound size.

Provost's life after football per Wikipedia:

Ted Provost was successful after his football career, owner of Ted Provost Builders, a construction company in Hilliard, Ohio. He and his wife Ruth have three children, Michael, Douglas, and Molly.

Ted Provost starts speaking around the 2:30 mark:

Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer, RB (1979-82)
1960 (Martins Ferry, Ohio)
High School: St. Clairsville

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 38-11 with Spencer 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 Captain.
1982 Team MVP.
1982 All-Big Ten.
1982 holiday Bowl MVP.
1981 All-Big Ten.
1997 Inducted into the Ohio State Varsity O Hall of Fame.
2004 Inducted into the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

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

6-1, 210...from St. Clairsville, Ohio...one of the top college tailbacks in the nation...an ideal back with speed to run outside and the power to hit inside...ran for 1,217 yards in 1981 and scored 12 touchdowns...second in Big Ten rushing with an average of 101 yards per game...started at fullback in 1980 and averaged 5.3 yards per carry...had an 82-yard touchdown run in Ohio State's first play from scrimmage last year.

A first team all-Big Ten selection in 1981...won all-Ohio and All-America honors in high school when he ran for 3,144 career yards and scored 49 touchdowns...a business management major...hobbies are chess, backgammon and music...admires Earl Campbell.

Tim Spencer's Ohio State career per ovac.org:

After his prep days, Spencer matriculated to Columbus to play for Coach Earle Bruce’s Ohio State Buckeyes. 

The 6-1, 210-pounder was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes. He finished his career with 3,553 yards which still ranks third on Ohio State’s all-time rushing charts. 

Spencer led the Big Ten in rushing as a senior with 1,371 yards, eighth best in the nation. He was accorded All-Big Ten honors twice and was a second-team UPI All-American selection as a senior. 

He served as the Buckeyes’ co-captain as a senior and was voted the team MVP that year. He was also named MVP of the Holiday Bowl as he rushed for 167 yards and two TDs in OSU’s 47-17 win.

Tim Spencer's high school career per ovac.org:

Tim Spencer (St. Clairsville High School, Class of 1979) ranks with the greatest running backs ever to grace Ohio Valley high school gridirons. Spencer - who plied his trade for legendary coach George Strager - rushed for some 3,144 yards and 50 touchdowns. He scored 338 points during his Red Devil grid career. 

As a senior, the Parade All-American gained 1,670 yards and scored 28 touchdowns while his junior numbers totaled 1,280 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Spencer’s top prep game came as a senior when he rushed for 306 yards and scored six touchdowns against Martins Ferry. All told, he scored 40 points in that contest. 

He was awarded All-OVAC and All-Ohio football honors following his junior and senior seasons. 

Spencer's coaching career per Wikipedia:

In 1994, Spencer returned to Ohio State to be their running backs coach, a position he held until 2003. Since January 27, 2004, he has been the running backs coach for the Chicago Bears. Spencer was not retained by the Bears in 2013 after the hiring of Marc Trestman.

He joined Lovie Smith's staff at Tampa Bay for the 2014 Season.

No. 46 In The NFL Draft


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 53 52 51 50
49 48 47 46            

129 days until The Game.

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