Buckeye Pipelines: Tom Cousineau, Rodney Bailey and Alex Boone Among Ohio State Stars from St. Edward

By 11W Staff on April 23, 2022 at 10:10 am
Tom Cousineau

Buckeye Pipelines puts the spotlight each week on a high school program who has had numerous and notable alumni go on to play for the Scarlet and Gray.

This week, we take a look at a school that has produced 11 Ohio State football players since 1970: St. Edward.

The Eagles have had a player on the Buckeyes' roster every decade since 1970, including one of Ohio State's most decorated linebackers.

St. Edward
2021 RECORD 15–1



St. Edward is a football juggernaut in the state of Ohio. The program has won half of the Division I state championships over the past eight seasons.

Head coach Tom Lombardo told Eleven Warriors that what makes St. Edward special is “the pride in the program. The pride in the school. The pride in the tradition. The culture of the teams. The kids that come to St. Ed’s want to come for that.”

Notable Buckeyes from St. Edward

LB Tom Cousineau (1975-78)

A two-time All-American, Cousineau holds Ohio State’s single-season record with 211 tackles. Against Penn State in 1978, he set a single-game record by recording 29 total tackles (since tied by Chris Spielman). Cousineau also holds Ohio State’s single game record with 16 solo tackles against SMU in 1978. He ranks second on Ohio State’s all-time total tackles list with 569 (three behind Marcus Marek) and on the career solo tackles list with 259. 

Cousineau was the Buckeyes' captain and team MVP in 1978. He earned All-American honors as a junior and senior, All-Big Ten honors three times and was the Defensive MVP of the 1977 Orange Bowl. In 1995, he was inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame; in 2016, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Buffalo Bills selected Cousineau with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft. The Bills acquired the pick by trading O.J. Simpson to the San Francisco 49ers. Instead of going to Buffalo, Cousineau signed with the Montreal Alouettes, who offered him twice the amount of money the Bills could give him. He was the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in 1979.

In 1983, he returned to the NFL after the Bills traded him to the Browns for the 14th overall pick of the 1983 NFL Draft. The Bills used the pick to select Jim Kelly. The Browns signed Cousineau to a five-year, $2.5 million contract, which was the largest ever for a Cleveland player at the time. Cousineau went on to play six seasons in the NFL – four with the Browns and two with the 49ers – in which he twice earned All-AFC honors.

At St. Edward, Cousineau was an All-Ohioan as a linebacker and a state finalist in wrestling. Cousineau later returned to St. Edward as an assistant coach, where he worked alongside St. Edward’s current head coach.

“Just hearing him tell the stories of playing for Woody Hayes and what that was like and being such a high-profile athlete, wrestler and football player that ended up going to Ohio State, having a great career and I think being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft is pretty awesome,” Lombardo said.

DE Rodney Bailey (1997-00)

Bailey started 34 games as a Buckeye and was a co-captain of the 2000 team. He was also named Ohio State's most outstanding defensive player in 2000, when he recorded eight of his 17.5 career sacks.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Bailey in the 6th round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He later won a Super Bowl as a member of the New England Patriots.

Bailey was named the Cleveland Division I Player of the Year by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and was an All-Ohioan as a senior at St. Edward. In 2009, he was inducted into the St. Edward Athletic Hall of Fame. 

OL Alex Boone (2005-08)

Boone played in 46 games for the Buckeyes and was Ohio State’s starting left tackle for three seasons. The Buckeyes played in the national championship game in the first two of those seasons, and he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior.

The San Francisco 49ers signed Boone as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He ultimately worked his way up the 49ers’ depth chart to become a starter in 2012, and remained a starting offensive lineman in the NFL for the next six years with the 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. After two years out of the league, he made a brief return to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2020.

At St. Edward, Boone was a three-year starter and was named to the USA Today and Parade All-American teams. The Eagles made it to the state championship game during his junior and senior seasons, in which he was also named an All-Ohioan.

St. Edward Buckeyes (1970-2021)
DE MARTIN CUSICK 1974-77 Missed the 1975 season due to a knee injury, played in two games for 2.5 minutes during his career. Played FB, LB, tackle and end, older brother Pete was an All-American at Ohio State.
LB TOM COUSINEAU 1975-78 Captain, 2x All-American, 3x All-Big Ten, Team MVP, holds Ohio State’s single-season and single-game tackles records. All-Ohioan, state finalist in wrestling and in the St. Edward Hall of Fame.
DL JOE HORNIK 1975-78 Played DE and DT for OSU, had 40 tackles and four tackles for loss as a senior. All-Ohioan at DE, took one snap at HB during the final game of his senior year and went 75 yards for a TD, member of the St. Edward Hall of Fame.
OT TOM McCORMICK 1982-84 Career reserve who did not see the field. All-Ohioan at OT, St. Edward Hall of Fame inductee.
LB/DT JIM McCONVILLE 1984-85 Enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 1982, dropped out and enrolled at Cleveland State, transferred to OSU in 1983, did not see the field. Ohio's 1981 Lineman of the Year, All-Ohioan at LB, earned 11 letters in 4 sports, member of St. Edward Hall of Fame.
DL RODNEY BAILEY 1997-00 Captain and defensive player of the year as a senior. Named Cleveland D1 Player of the Year by the Plain Dealer and TD Club of Cleveland, St. Ed Hall of Fame member.
OG NICK LEMBECH 2004 On the roster for 1 season.  
OT ALEX BOONE 2005-08 Four-year starter at left tackle, All-Big Ten selection in 2008. All-Ohioan, USA Today and Parade All-American, 2x All-Ohioan and 3-year starter at St. Edward.
DB NATE OLIVER 2007-11 Finished his career with 30 tackles. Played in 12 of 13 games his senior year (missed Illinois) and recorded seven tackles. All-Ohioan as a junior and senior, won the 2010 state championship. His class lost only three games in high school.
WR ALEX STUMP 2015-16 Caught one pass for eight yards during his two seasons in Columbus. Transferred to Vanderbilt in March 2017. On the 2014 state championship team, injured his foot in the fourth game of his senior season.
S KEVIN DEVER 2018-20 Academic All-Big Ten in 2018 and 2020, 4x OSU Scholar-Athlete, transferred to Akron following the 2020 season. Played OLB and had 136 tackles, 2 TFL and 2 INTs as a senior, won state championships in 2014 and 2015, also played basketball and track and was a National Merit Scholar.

More about St. Edward

The Catholic all-boys’ high school was established in 1949 and is named for Saint Edward the Confessor. St. Edward was one of three high schools started by the Brothers of the Holy Cross in northeast Ohio following World War II, along with Gilmour Academy and Archbishop Hoban. The school's first graduating class in 1953 included future talk show host Phil Donahue. 

The Eagles compete as an independent program in Division 1, Region 1. St. Edward was 9–1 in the regular season last year. Following a loss to Moeller in Week 9, the Eagles won the rest of their games to claim the 2021 Division I state championship. 

St. Edward has won five state titles, with the first being claimed in 2010. The Eagles earned back-to-back state championships in 2014 and 2015 and have won four state titles in the last eight seasons. 

Across all sports, St. Edward holds a record 62 OHSAA-sponsored state championships. The wrestling program holds 35 team tournament state titles, having won 23 of the last 25 state championships since 1997. The wrestling program also has five dual team state championships, bringing the total to 40 state championships for the wrestling team. 

The hockey team has won 11 titles with baseball, basketball and track also adding to the state championship trophy collection. The first of St. Edward's record 62 championships came in wrestling in 1978.

The coach behind a powerhouse

Tom Lombardo has won four state titles and is the only high school coach in Ohio history to win a state championship with two different schools. He replaced John Gibbons (his father-in-law) at Lake Catholic and won the Division III state title during his third season in 2001.

Following the championship season at Lake Catholic, Lombardo joined Gibbons' staff at St. Ed's where he assisted from 2002 until 2006. After an eight-year stint as the head coach at Highland High School (2007-14), Lombardo returned to St. Edward as the head coach and won the Division I state title during his first season, since adding two more in 2018 and 2021.

During both of his stints at St. Edward, Lombardo has built a strong relationship with Ohio State’s coaches, starting with Jim Tressel, who recruited Boone and Nate Oliver.

“He knew backgrounds on schools; he knew the history,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo sees similarities between Tressel and Ryan Day.

“I see a lot of that in coach Day, I really do,” said Lombardo, who was honored with the “Ohio’s Finest” award at last week’s Ohio State coaches’ clinic. “Even though he’s not from Ohio, I think he’s really trying to embrace what Ohio stands for. You almost have to, and I think he’s really got a good sense of it. In the times I’ve talked to him, I’m extremely, extremely impressed. Just in his demeanor. He reminds me a lot of coach Tressel’s demeanor and his interaction with high school coaches."  

Winning state titles brings attention to the high-quality players in a program, and Lombardo says Day has visited St. Edward to get a closer look at his current players. St. Edward players who are currently being recruited by the Buckeyes include 2023 defensive end Michael Kilbane and 2024 offensive linemen Ben RoebuckDeontae Armstrong and Devontae Armstrong, though none of them have Ohio State offers yet.

Lombardo says St. Edward receives “outstanding” support from the community, which has played a big part in its success.

“Our administration, starting with our outgoing president, Mr. Jim Kubacki, he’s been nothing short of remarkable. He’s such a huge supporter of many programs in the school, but particularly football,” Lombardo said. “Our incoming president, who’s our principal right now, KC McKenna, has also been super supportive. We have a great athletic staff and a great alumni base. When you put that all together, the tidal wave kind of keeps rolling."

Other famous alumni

In addition to the 11 Eagles who have gone on to play football at Ohio State, there are many other alumni from St. Edward who have achieved success in the sports world and elsewhere, including:

Why are Buckeyes prior to 1970 and some walk-on players not highlighted or included in the rankings? Ohio State's official rosters listed the hometown of players, but did not provide their high school on the roster before 1970. The official rosters released at the start of each season were used, due to this, some walk-on players may not be listed as they were not on the season opening official rosters. 

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