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Digging Deeper: Players Who Wore No. 32

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Matt Gutridge's picture
July 31, 2018 at 1:33am

In 32 days the Beavers of Oregon State will travel to Columbus to take on our Buckeyes. Below, you will find a list with the 38 players who have worn No. 32 for Ohio State. Today's featured players are Joseph Gailus, Jack Tatum and Na'il Diggs.

Players Who Wore No. 32 At Ohio State
Joseph Gailus# 1933     1932,
1933   1932,
James Torrance 1934                    
Robert Masoner* 1936                    
John Santschi 1938-40                   1940
Loren Staker 1941-42                   1942
Paul Davis 1943                   1943
David Bonnie* 1946                   1946
Earl Bechtel 1952                   1952
Russell Provenza* 1957                   1957
Roger Detrick 1959-60                   1959-60
Douglas Drenik 1962-64                   1962-64
Rudy Smith 1966-67                    
Jack Tatum 1968-70     1969,
  1971 1968,
Rick Middleton 1971-73         1974       1973 1971-73
Douglas Bargerstock 1974                   1974
Kelton Dansler* 1976-78           1977,
Rowland Tatum 1981-83       1983   1983   1984   1981-83
Tom Anderzack 1984-87                    
Mike Mortin* 1986                    
Tony Fenstermaker* 1987                    
Dave Bals 1988-89                    
Carlos Luna 1989                    
Robert Smith 1990                    
Dan Finck 1991-92                    
Scott Terna* 1993                   1993
Gerald Carlson 1993                    
Obie Stillwell* 1994-95                   1994-95
Na'il Diggs 1996-99     1999     1998   2000   1997-99
Marco Cooper 2000-01                   2000-01
Brandon Mitchell 2002-06                 2003,
Ryan Pretorius* 2004                   2008-09
Eugene Clifford 2007                    
Taylor Rice* 2008-09                    
Storm Klein 2009-12                   2009-11
Darryl Wood 2011                    
Russel Doup* 2013-14                   2014
Elijah Goins 2015-16                 2016 2016
Tuf Borland 2016-18                 2017 2017

*Wore another number at Ohio State
#Gailus is only listed as wearing a number in 1933. Nothing is listed for '31 and '32.
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 34

Joseph Gailus, G (1931-33)
Vandergrift, PA

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 17-5-3 with Gailus on the team.

1933 Captain.
1933 All-American.
1933 All-Big Ten.
1932 All-American.
1932 All-Big Ten.

Gailus' Ohio State career per osumensvo.com:

Joseph Gailus played the game when many players played both offense and defense, and his quickness, versatility and strength enabled him to do just that. A three-year starter, he opened holes on offense and was solid tackler on defense, also making several interceptions. Gailus, a team co-captain with Sid Gillman in 1933, was a two-time All-American for the Buckeyes in 1932 and 1933 and he was named All-Big Ten those two years as well. He was chosen to play in the East/West Shrine all-star game following his senior season. The Buckeyes had a three-year record of 17-5-2 during his tenure. Galius was from Vandergrift, Pa. When he and Gillman were co-captains in 1933, it marked just the second time in school history that two players served as co-captains for a season.

Jack Tatum, LB/DB (1968-70)
1948 (Cherryville, NC)
High School: Passaic (NJ)
Died: 2010 (Oakland, CA)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 27-2 with Tatum on the team.
1968 National Champion.
1970 National Champion.
1968 Big Ten Title.
1969 Big Ten Title.
1970 Big Ten Title.
1969 Defeated USC 27-16 to win the Rose Bowl.
1968 Defeated No. 1 Purdue 13-0.
Went 2-1 against That Team.
1968 Defeated No. 1 Purdue 13-0.

1970 National Defensive Player of the Year.
1970 All-American.
1970 All-Big Ten.
1969 All-American.
1969 All-Big Ten.
1968 All-Big Ten.
Super Bowl XI Champion.
1973 Football Digest NFL Defensive Back of the Year.
Pro Bowl in 1973, 1974 and 1975.
All-Pro in 1974 and 1977.
1981 Inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.
2004 Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Jack Tatum

Tatum's senior year bio per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-0, 208...from Passiac, NJ...was a unanimous all-American selection last season...one of the most talented athletes on the squad who could excel either on defense or offense...plays a conrerback position on defense, which combines the talents of an end and a defensive halfback...has excellent speed and is a vicious tackler...has started all 19 games the past two years.

Was an all-New Jersey fullback in high school, gaining 1,421 yards as a senior...very quiet and unemotional...in the college of education...from a family of five...works in a plumbing supply plant during the summer...was a fine sprinter in high school.

Top football thrill came when Ohio State won a National Championship in 1968...a great athlete.

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

Jack Tatum was one of the dominant defensive players and most intimidating forces in college football during his career at Ohio State. A three-year starter, a two-time All-American and the national Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, he was known for his tenacity and fierce style of play.

The 6-1, 208-pound Tatum came to Ohio State as a running back, but moved to defense in the spring of his freshman year. He was a mainstay of the defense for the next three seasons as OSU rolled up a 27-2 record and won the 1968 national championship, two Big Ten titles and played in two Rose Bowls.

The Oakland Raiders selected him in the first round of the 1971 NFL Draft. In his nine-year career, he was named to the Pro Bowl three times and was a member of the 1976 Super Bowl champion Raiders. 

He was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004. The outstanding defensive back in the Big Ten is awarded the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award.

Tatum's high school career and recruitment to Ohio State per Wikipedia:

Tatum was born in Cherryville, North Carolina, and grew up in Passaic, New Jersey, where he had little interest in playing sports in his early years. Tatum did not begin playing football until he entered his sophomore year at Passaic High School, where he played as a running back, fullback and defensive back and was selected first-team All-State. He was selected a high school All-American as a senior. In 1999, the Newark Star-Ledger named Tatum as one of New Jersey's top ten defensive players of the century.

Tatum visited a number of universities before starting his collegiate career with the Ohio State University Buckeyes. Head coach Woody Hayes recruited Tatum as a running back. However, assistant coach Lou Holtz convinced Hayes to switch Tatum to defensive back during Tatum's freshman season. Tatum was used by the Buckeyes to cover the opposing team's best wide receiver, but he also was used occasionally as a linebacker due to the nature of his hits and his innate ability to bring down even the biggest fullback or tight end.

He first became known to college football observers as a sophomore when he helped limit All-American Leroy Keyes during a 13-0 upset against the Purdue Boilermakers during the early part of the 1968 season.

Tatum's role in the immaculate reception:

Tatum was involved in one of the most famous plays in National Football League history, the Immaculate Reception, during the AFC divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 23, 1972. With 22 seconds left in the game, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass to running back John "Frenchy" Fuqua. Tatum collided with Fuqua, knocking the ball into the air. The ball fell into the hands of Steelers running back Franco Harris, who ran it 42 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

The play is famous because NFL rules at the time prohibited a receiver from batting the ball to another player of the same team. The referees ruled that Tatum had touched the ball and therefore Harris's touchdown was permitted, allowing the Steelers to win the game.

Want more information on Tatum?

Na'il Diggs

Na'il Diggs, LB (1996-99)
1978 (Phoenix, AZ)
High School: Dorsey (Los Angeles)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 38-11 with Diggs on the team.
1996 Big Ten Title.
1998 Big Ten Title.
Defeated No. 4 Arizona State 20-17 in the 1997 Rose Bowl.
Defeated No. 8 Texas A&M 24-14 in the 1999 Sugar Bowl.

1999 All-American.
1998 All-Big Ten.

Diggs' senior bio per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-4, 235...from Los Angeles, CA...When defensive coordinator Fred Pagac says a student-athlete is  "a good football player," it is Pagac's way of saying "good" as in All-American good. He just won't say it that way, though. Na'il Diggs is "a good football player." A preseason All-American heading into the 1999 season, Diggis is a rising star who will challenge for All-America honors and major awards this season. "He does have all the skills," Pagac admits. "He can run. He has strength. He is big. He has a great mental aspect of the game. And we expect him to be a leader."

Diggs' two-year career is full of highlights---quarterback sacks, fumble returns, crushing hits and flying tackles. He had more sacks the past two years---12--- than any other Buckeye and his 24 tackles-for-loss between 1997-98 trailed only Andy Katzenmoyer's 27. He also has two pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries an interception and a forced fumble. He has played in all 25 games the past two seasons and has made 14-consecutive starts. 

Describes himself as "quiet, tall and cool," and said the best thing about being an Ohio State football player is "meaning so much to the people of Columbus." One of the top rated players in California as a senior at Dorsey HS when he had 98 tackles, including 29.5 tackles-for-losses. Dorsey was 23-4 his final two years.

Originally committed to USC, but changed his mind. When he did, his sister, Roslyn Simpson, who raised him after his mother (Anna Faye) died, recommended Ohio State because she had known John Cooper when he coached at Arizona State. 

Diggs' Ohio State career per ohiostatebuckeyes.com:

Diggs emerged as one of the top outside linebackers in the Big Ten Conference and nationally in his three seasons - 1997-99 - at Ohio State. A 37-game veteran who started 26-consecutive games dating to the Michigan game of his red-shirt freshman season in 1997, Diggs was named a first-team All-American in 1999 by the Football News after garnering Playboy preseason All-American honors heading into the season. He was also named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and the Football News Defensive Player of the Year Award and he was named second-team all-Big Ten Conference.

Diggs led the Buckeyes in tackles as a junior with 94 (64 solo). He also led the team with 15 tackles-for-loss, totalling 53 yards, six quarterback sacks and three forced fumbles. He had a career-high 14 tackles vs. Wisconsin with additional high games of 11 tackles vs. Iowa, 10 vs. Miami in the Kickoff Classic - including four tackles-for-loss - and 10 vs. Cincinnati. He was outstanding on the field vs. Penn State, notching six tackles and two tackles-for-loss, including an end zone, fumble-forcing quarterback sack that led to an Ohio State touchdown. His junior totals raise his career statistics to 202 total tackles, 39 tackles-for-loss (tie for seventh all-time at Ohio State), 18 quarterback sacks (tie for fifth at OSU), 165 tackles-for-loss yards (seventh at OSU) and 118 quarterback sack yards (fifth at OSU). His overall statistics totals also include five pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, including one he returned 47 yards for a touchdown in 1998 vs. Illinois, and an interception.

Diggs exploded onto the national scene as a sophomore in 1998, being named first-team all-Big Ten Conference in his first full season as a collegiate linebacker (he played as a rush defensive end his first two years at Ohio State). A key performer on the nation's No. 1 defense against the run and No. 2 total defensive unit, Diggs was second on the team with 80 tackles and he led the squad with 16 tackles-for-losses totalling 73 yards. His six sacks ranked second among Buckeyes.

As a red-shirt freshman in 1997, Diggs played in all 13 games at defensive end and started the final two: against Michigan and in the Sugar Bowl vs. Florida State. He led the team in sacks with six, including three vs. Minnesota (the second-highest game sack total in OSU history).

Diggs was one of the top players in the state of California as a senior and originally committed to attend Southern California, but later changed his mind. He was then offered a scholarship to attend Ohio State, and he accepted.

Diggs decides to turn pro:

Ohio State junior linebacker Na'il Diggs announced today (Tuesday, Jan. 4) that he has decided to give up his final season of collegiate eligibility to pursue a career in the National Football League.

"I learned at the young age of 13 when my mother passed away that the future is not promised to anyone," Diggs said at a packed press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. "I feel that I must seize the opportunity that is presently before me and act on it."


He is the 13th Buckeye in the 1990s to leave school early and declare for the NFL Draft. Ten of the first 12 who left early were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, including No. 1 picks Dan Wilkinson in 1994 and Orlando Pace in 1997.

No. 32 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 45 44 43 42 41 40
39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32    

115 days until The Game.

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