Predicting the Next Football Players to Enter the Athletics Hall of Fame

By Jeff Beck on June 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

Last week, Ohio State announced a 14-member class for the school's Athletics Hall of Fame. Among those honored include Troy Smith and Antoine Winfield.

The nods are well-deserved, but in Winfield's case, it took far longer than is probably warranted for the two-time All-American and Thorpe Award winner. All athletes must wait at least five years for consideration, but for Winfield, the wait ended up being 16 years.

So it got me thinking. If OSU could slow play Antoine Winfield for 16 years, who else is out there waiting to get in? And which players are most likely to hear their names called?

David Boston

Boston’s exclusion is a complete and utter mystery. In fact, he might be the biggest snub on this list.

Boston’s name appears 59 times in the Ohio State football record books. He ranks tops in school history in pass receptions in a game (14), pass receptions in a season (85), pass receptions in a career (191), pass reception yards in a season (1,435), average yards per catch (32.6), receptions per game in a season (7.1), receptions per game in a career (5.2), touchdown receptions in a career (34), most 100+ yard games in a season (9) and most 100+ yards games in a career (14).

Rub your eyes and read that again. That’s Boston at No. 1 in school history in 10 different categories (or, every metric that counts at the wide receiver position). Boston is due.

Joe Germaine

Germaine led the Buckeyes to their first Rose Bowl in 20 years, and is one of the nicer, most gracious players ever produced by Ohio State. But, behind that boyish smile is a stone-cold killer on the football field.

The Rose Bowl win was just the beginning of Germaine’s legacy in Columbus. As a full time starter in 1998, Joe broke 11 school records and was named the Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner as the conference’s best player. In three seasons (most of them as a platoon player with Stanley Jackson) Germaine threw for a phenomenal 6,370 yards and 56 touchdowns.

His 3,330 passing yards in 1998 rank first in the Buckeye record book along with his 230 pass completions in a season. In addition his aforementioned 6,370 career yards are good enough for third all-time. Way to go Joe. Here’s hoping you get the nod next year.

Mike Nugent

If I’m in charge of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, there’s no chance I’m leaving out the best kicker to ever walk into the ‘Shoe. Do I need to remind you that there were NUGENT for HEISMAN tees printed in Columbus?

Nugent’s 356 career points are the most in school history. His .893 FG percentage in 2002 and his .889 percentage in 2004 rank first and second in a season respectively. His .818 career percentage is also tops in the books.

Last but certainly not least Nugent ranks first in school history in 50+ yard field goals made over the course of a career with eight (out of nine attempts) with five of those makes coming during his 2004 season.

The effort didn’t go unnoticed as Nugent was a consensus first-team All American in 2002 and again as a unanimous pick in 2004 when he won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker.

In 2005, Nugent was named Ohio State's Male Athlete of the Year, which, you know, seems like something that would help one get into the HoF.

*Art Schlichter

Yes, there's that gambling thing, but of all the football players on the outside looking in, Schichter's fieldwork may be the most impressive.

He threw for 458 yards (tops in school history) against Florida State in 1981. Is first all-time in passing yards in a career with 7,547, completions in a game (31) and threw for 17 consecutive 100 yard games (tied for first in the record books).

But, there's this, from the Hall of Fame's bylaws:

"Consideration shall also be given for personal conduct in life and personal contributions to the high ideals of intercollegiate athletics."

Art, however great he was on the field, may have to endure life as the Pete Rose of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.

There are a number of other players the HoF should consider: Michael Jenkins, A.J. Hawk, Shawn Springs, and Chris Wells come to mind. But, in my opinion, Boston, Germaine and Nugent will probably hear their names called next.

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