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Digging Deeper: Players Who Wore No. 22

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Matt Gutridge's picture
August 10, 2018 at 12:04am

22 days until Ohio State plays Navy in the 2014 season opener. Below you will find a list of the 25 players who have worn No. 22 for the Buckeyes.

Today's featured player is the guy No. 22 is retired for, Les Horvath.

Go here, if you would like to read daily newspaper articles from the 1942 season.

Players Who Wore No. 22 At Ohio State
Marshall Oliphant 1931-33                     1931-31
Walter Vuchinich 1935                      
Joseph Aleskus 1937-38                 1939   1937-38
Charles Anderson 1939-40                     1939-40
Les Horvath* 1942, 1944 1944 1944 1944 1944     1944   1943   1942, 1944
Ernest Parks 1943                     1943
Lowell Diehl 1945                      
Richard Slager* 1947                     1947
William Leggett 1952-54                 1955   1954
Francis Kremblas 1956-58         1958       1959 1957 1956-58
Jack Wallace 1959-61                      
Nicholas Yonclas 1963-64                     1963-64
Dale Yonclas 1963-64                     1963-64
Dale Darnell 1967                      
Leophus Hayden 1968-70           1971         1968-70
Richard Gales 1971-72                     1971-72
Joe Allegro 1975-77                     1975-77
Ricardo Volley* 1978-79                     1978-79
Cedric Anderson 1980-83                     1980-83
Brian Allen 1984                      
Hayden Humphrey* 1985                      
Tony Cupe 1986-88                     1987
Foster Paulk 1989-92                     1989-91
Patrice Stewart  1990                      
Dan Colson* 1993                     1993

*Wore another number at Ohio State
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 22

Les Horvath

Les Horvath, HB/QB (1940-42, 1944)
 1921 (South Bend, IN)
Died: 1995 (Glendale, CA)
High School: James Ford Rhodes and Parma

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 28-6-1 with Horvath on the team.
1942 National Champion.
1942 Big Ten Title.
1944 Big Ten Title.
Went 2-1-1 against That Team.

1944 Heisman Trophy Winner.
1944 Big Ten MVP.
1944 Ohio State MVP.
1944 All-American.
1944 All-Big Ten.
1969 Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
1977 Inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.

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

In 1944, Les Horvath made Ohio State history by becoming the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner. With Horvath at the controls, the Buckeyes posted a perfect 9-0 record and won the Big Ten championship. In addition to leading the Big Ten in rushing (669 yards) and total offense (953 yards), the Parma, Ohio, native accounted for 1,248 all-purpose yards. Horvath, who played both quarterback and halfback on offense and safety on defense, was the Big Ten’s MVP in 1944.

Ironically, Horvath almost didn’t play in 1944. After helping lead the 1942 Buckeyes to a 9-1 record and the school’s first national championship, Horvath entered dental school at Ohio State and did not play in 1943. But when Coach Carroll Widdoes went to him prior to the 1944 season, the 23-year-old Horvath, who had an extra year because of wartime rules, agreed to return to the gridiron. 

“At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to play,” said Horvath on one of his last visits to Columbus. “Dental school was quite taxing. But Coach Widdoes said I wouldn’t have to practice all the time and agreed to fly me to the games, both of which gave me more time to study.”

Horvath is the only Heisman winner who did not play the previous season. The layoff obviously did not bother him. He set a Big Ten rushing record in his final year.

Horvath, who finished his Ohio State career with 2,055 yards of total offense, went on to play professional football with the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns. Following his professional career, he returned to Los Angeles and practiced dentistry.

Horvath's childhood and high school career per Wikipedia:

Horvath was born to Hungarian immigrants in South Bend, Indiana in 1921; his family soon moved to Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Parma Senior High School starting in 1936 and played on the track, basketball and football teams until the 11th grade. He decided to switch schools because he felt his basketball teammates were not taking the sport seriously.

Horvath's family relocated, and in 1938 he enrolled at James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, one of Parma's rivals. Playing as a quarterback for the Rhodes Rams, Horvath guided the team to seven straight wins in 1938, but the team lost to West Technical High School for a chance to be the Cleveland Senate League's nomination to play in the city championship. He graduated in 1939.

Horvath's Ohio State career per Wikipedia:

Horvath attended Ohio State University on a work scholarship, but managed to make the school's football team in 1940. Horvath was small for a football player – he weighed just 160 pounds – but was a quick runner and had a strong arm.

Ohio State's football team was a disappointment in 1940, however, finishing the season with a 4–4 win–loss record under head coach Francis Schmidt. Schmidt was fired after the season and replaced by Paul Brown, an Ohio high school coach who had guided Massillon Washington to a series of undefeated records and state championships.

Brown simplified Ohio State's offense, but imposed a level of discipline and organization that had been absent under Schmidt. Horvath was a reserve halfback in the Buckeyes' single-wing offense in 1941, when the team posted a 6–1–1 win–loss–tie record and finished second in the Big Ten Conference standings. He played in many games, but senior fullback Jack Graf and senior halfback Tom Kinkade got most of the carries for Ohio State.

Despite his small frame, Brown recognized Horvath's potential as a senior in 1942 and made him a regular starter at halfback beside Paul Sarringhaus and fullback Gene Fekete. While Sarringhaus and Fekete were Ohio State's main offensive weapons, Horvath averaged eight yards per carry in a victory over Pittsburgh* and scored two touchdowns and passed for 109 yards in a win over Illinois in Cleveland.

Ohio State was ranked first in the country in the AP Poll early in the season, but fell in the rankings after a loss to Wisconsin in October. The team won the rest of its games, however, including a 21–7 victory over arch-rival Michigan at the end of the season.

Horvath passed to Sarringhaus for a 35-yard touchdown and caught another 32-yard touchdown pass from Sarringhaus in the Michigan game. Ohio State's 9–1 record put it on top of the Big Ten standings and in the final AP Poll, giving the school its first-ever national championship.

Horvath expected his college football career to be over in 1942. He finished his undergraduate degree that year and enrolled in a graduate program at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Ohio State's football program, meanwhile, struggled in 1943 after Paul Brown and many of its best players entered the military during World War II. Carroll Widdoes, an assistant under Brown, was appointed the acting head coach and led the team to a 3–6 record.

The following year, Widdoes asked Horvath to return to the team, taking advantage of a wartime rule that allowed college programs to use graduate students if they had not exhausted their four years of college eligibility. Widdoes promised Horvath a leading role as the team's left halfback, a level of prominence he had been denied under Brown.

Horvath agreed to come back and be a veteran leader for a team that was composed mostly of freshmen because of older players' service in the war. Horvath had a breakout season in 1944, gaining 669 rushing yards and 1,200 all-purpose yards as the Buckeyes turned in a 9–0 record and finished second in the national polls. The highlights of Horvath's season included scoring the winning touchdown in Ohio State's annual matchup against Michigan. Calling all of Ohio State's offensive plays, he was nicknamed the "playing coach".

Horvath was named a first-team All-American by sportswriters and the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten after the season. He was voted by his teammates as Ohio State's Most Valuable Player. He also won the Heisman Trophy, an award given each year to the best college football player in the country.

Horvath striking the Heisman pose many years before that guy from That Team.

Horvath was the first Ohio State player to win the Heisman, and he remains the only Heisman winner not to have played football the previous season.

Horvath was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969 and became a member of Ohio State's athletics hall of fame in 1977. Ohio State retired his number 22 uniform in 2001, six years after his death.

Leo Hayden

Leophus Hayden, RB (1968-70)
High School: Roosevelt

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

Hayden's senior bio per The Ohio State Team Guide:

6-2, 208...from Dayton, Ohio...was the regular left halfback last season playing 175.5 minutes...averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 63 tries...is an ideal blend of speed and power...runs equally well inside or outside...was an all-Ohio fullback at Roosevelt High.

From a family of eight, including six boys...hobbies are dancing and music...captained his high school's football, wrestling and track teams...in the College of Education and is interested in corrective speech...admires Gale Sayers and Leroy Kelley.

Hayden played for the Vikings and St. Louis Cardinals between 1971 and 1973. Today, he is the director of the inmates re-entry program for New Orleans Parish Louisiana. When Hayden retired from football, he founded the National Center for Violence Interruption.

No. 22 In The NFL Draft


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105 days until The Game.

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