Former Ohio State Running Back Keith Byars Selected to College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020

By Dan Hope on March 11, 2020 at 12:20 pm
Keith Byars
National Football Foundation

Ohio State has another College Football Hall of Famer.

Legendary Buckeye running back Keith Byars is among the members of the College Football Hall of Fame's class of 2020, which was announced Wednesday.

Byars becomes the 26th Buckeye to earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. He's the eighth Ohio State running back to receive that honor, joining Chic Harley, Gaylord Stinchcomb, Vic Janowicz, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, Archie Griffin, Bob Ferguson and Eddie George.

Buckeyes In The College Football Hall of Fame
CHIC HARLEY HB 1916-17, 19 1951
WES FESLER E 1928-30 1954
GOMER JONES C 1934-35 1978
GUST ZARNAS G 1935-37 1975
BILL WILLIS T 1942-44 1971
LES HORVATH QB 1940-42, 44 1969
WARREN AMLING G/T 1944-46 1984
JIM DANIEL T 1939-41 1977
VIC JANOWICZ HB 1949-51 1976
JIM PARKER G 1943-46 1974
ARCHIE GRIFFIN RB 1972-75 1986
JIM STILLWAGON MG 1968-70 1991
BOB FERGUSON FB 1959-61 1996
JOHN HICKS T 1970-73 2001
JACK TATUM DB 1968-70 2004
JIM HOUSTON E 1957-58 2005
REX KERN QB 1968-70 2007
CHRIS SPIELMAN LB 1984-87 2009
EDDIE GEORGE RB 1992-95 2012
ORLANDO PACE LT 1994-96 2014
TOM COUSINEAU LB 1975-78 2016
KEITH BYARS RB 1982-85 2020

Byars was selected for enshrinement in his sixth year on the ballot.

Over the course of his four years at Ohio State, Byars ran for 3,200 yards and caught 72 passes for an additional 882 yards. He ranks second in school history with 50 touchdowns scored, while his 4,082 total yards from scrimmage rank fifth among all Buckeyes.

Byars had his first big year for the Buckeyes in 1983, when he led the Big Ten with 1,199 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, added 23 catches for 359 yards and a touchdown and had a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown. 

In 1984, Byars had one of the best individual seasons in Ohio State history when he led the nation with 1,764 rushing yards (a school record at the time) and 22 touchdowns and also led the team with 42 catches for 479 yards and another two touchdowns. That season was highlighted by one of the best single-game performances in Ohio State history when he ran for 274 yards and five touchdowns – including a memorable 67-yard touchdown run on which he lost his shoe – in a 45-38 comeback win against Illinois.

Byars was a unanimous All-American, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the conference's MVP, while he finished second behind Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie in the 1984 Heisman Trophy race.

Byars likely would have had a chance to make a run at the 1985 Heisman and finish his career with even bigger numbers had he not suffered a broken foot that limited him to just four games in his senior season.

Following his Ohio State career, Byars was the 10th pick in the 1986 NFL draft and went on to play in the league for 13 years, highlighted by a 1993 trip to the Pro Bowl as a fullback for the Miami Dolphins. He currently hosts a weekly radio show for WING 1410, an ESPN Radio affiliate in his hometown of Dayton.

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