Buckeye Pipelines: The Griffin Brothers, Michael Guess and Dionte Johnson Established Eastmoor’s Legacy at Ohio State

By Matt Gutridge on June 25, 2022 at 10:10 am
Archie Griffin
Archie Griffin

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 19 Ohio State football players since 1970: Eastmoor Academy.

The Griffin brothers opened the pipeline to Ohio State in the 1970s, with seven of the Warriors’ 19 Buckeye commits coming during the disco decade. Since the turn of the century, four players from Eastmoor have made Ohio State's roster including Dionte Johnson and Ron Tanner. 

Eastmoor Academy
2021 RECORD 7–4



Notable Buckeyes from Eastmoor (1970-2021)

HB Archie Griffin (1972-75)

It can be said that Griffin was destined to be a Buckeye. The decorated running back was brought into this world at the Ohio State University Hospital in August 1954 – less than a mile away from the hallowed grounds of Ohio Stadium.

College football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner finished his Ohio State career with 5,589 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns. 

Along with the 1974 and 1975 Heisman Trophies, Griffin was honored with an extensive list of other awards. He earned All-Big Ten honors three times and was twice named a team MVP and captain. Griffin was also a two-time All-American, Big Ten Conference MVP, Chic Harley Award winner, UPI Player of the Year and the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year. He was named the Maxwell Award winner and The Sporting News Man of the Year in 1975.

Griffin's records, per Ohio State’s team guide:

• 1972: Set a then OSU single-game rushing record with 239 yards against North Carolina. Rushed for 867 yards during the year, then a freshman record.

• 1973: Became the first OSU sophomore to rush for 1,000 yards (1,577) and was named to a first-team spot on the UPI All-America team. Winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Big Ten Player of the Year.

• 1974: Rushed for a then-school record 1,695 yards and was a unanimous All-America choice. Won the Heisman Trophy, a second-consecutive Silver Football and was the UPI and Walter Camp player of the year.

• 1975: Made college football history by winning his second Heisman Trophy. Again chosen by UPI and Walter Camp as Player of the Year. A consensus All-America selection.

• Holds NCAA records for 100-yard games (33) and consecutive 100-yard games (31).

• Held NCAA record for most average yards percarry-6.13

• Held NCAA career rushing record at conclusion of his career and he still ranks 11th in NCAA annals with 5,177 yards.

• The only player to lead OSU in rushing four consecutive years.

• The only player to start four Rose Bowl games.

• Ohio State’s career-rushing leader with 5,589 yards.

After his playing days, Griffin was inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and National High School Hall of Fame. 

The Big Ten made him the first recipient of the conference's Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award in 2011, and he was named the All-Century Player of the Rose Bowl in 2014.

Ohio State officially retired Griffin's No. 45 in 1999.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Griffin in the first round with the 24th pick of the 1976 NFL Draft. He finished his seven-year pro career with 2,808 rushing yards, seven touchdowns and an average of 4.1 yards per carry.

At Eastmoor, Griffin was an All-Ohioan at fullback. He rushed for 1,737 yards and 29 touchdowns during his senior season, in which the Warriors won the City League title. For his efforts, the Columbus Citizen Journal named him Ohio's Player of the Year.

Griffin was the captain of the football, wrestling and track teams. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Eastmoor.

S Ray Griffin (1974-77)

Like his brother Archie, Ray Griffin first arrived on campus as a running back. However, Ray was switched to the secondary at Ohio State.

The younger Griffin was known as a great tackler and amassed 82 stops in 1977. He also had a dramatic 65-yard touchdown when he took a lateral from Nick Buonamici on an interception against Indiana.

Perhaps his most memorable play was an interception against Michigan in 1975 that set up Ohio State's game-winning touchdown in Ann Arbor.

Griffin was a team captain, an All-American and All-Big Ten player during his senior season in 1977.

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Griffin in the second round of the 1978 NFL draft. He played in 88 games over seven seasons and intercepted 11 passes, returning three for pick-sixes.

In high school, Griffin was an All-Ohioan at halfback. He led the City League in scoring and averaged 6.1 yards per carry as a senior.

DB Michael Guess (1976-79)

Guess was the captain of the 1979 team and a three-time All-Big Ten player. He tied an Ohio State record when he came down with three interceptions against SMU in 1977.

Guess started an impressive 33 games during his time with the Buckeyes. During his senior season, he racked up 50 tackles and led the team with four interceptions. Guess also had 23 punt returns for 279 yards (with a long of 59) in his final season.

The Chicago Bears selected Guess in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL draft. However, he decided to play for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. He finished his pro career in the USFL where he played for the Washington Federal and Orlando Renegades.   

Guess’ Eastmoor career was highlighted by a game for the age in which he returned two punts for touchdowns, intercepted two passes and recorded 16 tackles.

FB Dionte Johnson (2004-07)

The son of Buckeye great Pepper Johnson, Dionte Johnson was a powerful and bruising blocker who could also get the Buckeyes the tough yards. Ohio State won three Big Ten titles with Johnson clearing the way for the running backs. The team also went 4–0 against Michigan.

Johnson was captain of the 2007 team making Dionte and Pepper one of three father and son combos (along with Jim and Kirk Herbstreit and Jim and Jeff Davidson) to be captains at Ohio State. Something you may not know is that Johnson's godfather is Ohio State All-American Keith Byars.

As a junior at Eastmoor, Johnson was the center for the Warriors. He switched to fullback during his senior season and became an All-Ohioan.

As a high school wrestler, Johnson won the Columbus City League wrestling championship as a junior. He also played baseball and won a regional title as a member of the 4x100 relay team in track and field at Eastmoor.

Eastmoor Buckeyes (1970-2021)
HB ARCHIE GRIFFIN 1972-75 2x Heisman winner, 2x Big Ten MVP, 2x team MVP, 2x captain, 2x All-American, 3x All-Big Ten, Ohio State's all-time leading rusher ... too many records and honors to list here. All-Ohioan and Scholastic HS All-American as a FB, rushed for 3,382 yards and 47 TDs over three seasons, captain of the football, wresting and track teams.
OL RONALD AYERS 1973-76 Played in 35 games during his career including 11 of the 12 his senior season. Saw time as both a guard and center. All-Ohioan at tackle, played with Archie and Ray Griffin. Won awards in football, basketball and baseball.
S RAY GRIFFIN 1974-77 Captain, All-American and All-Big Ten his senior year, interception against Michigan in 1975 set up Ohio State's game-winning touchdown. All-Ohioan at HB, led the City League in scoring as a senior.
DB DUNCAN GRIFFIN 1975-78 Played in 48 games with the Buckeyes and recorded 17 tackles as a senior. Played TE and LB, was a great wrestler.
DT ED MILLS 1976-77 Played in three games for two minutes during his career. All-City in both football and basketball.
DB MICHAEL GUESS 1976-79 33-game starter, captain in 1979, All-Big Ten in 1977, 1978 and 1979. Returned two punts, intercepted two passes and recorded 16 tackles in a single game.
S TIMOTHY GALLOWAY 1979-80 Played in four games for three minutes as a Buckeye. Captain as a senior, was a three-year starter in football and also ran track.
LB ROBERT MANNING 1981 Had a total of six tackles in the three games (six minutes) that he played during his only season on the roster.  
LB BYRON LEE 1982-85 Played in 45 games with 28 starts, was third on the team with 72 tackles as a senior, was selected by the Eagles in the seventh round of the 1986 NFL Draft. All-Ohioan at LB and earned letters in football, basketball and track.
LB MIKE KEE 1982-1986 Missed his freshman season after a knee injury in the Ohio All-Star game, started in nine of the 13 games his senior season. All-Ohioan at linebacker
HB EVERETT ROSS 1985-88 Led the team with 29 receptions for 585 yards and 5 TDs in 1987, missed the 1988 season due to academics, selected by the Vikings in the 12th round of the 1989 NFL Draft. All-Ohioan at running back.
S ANTHONY WOODFORD 1986 Did not see the field in 1986.  
WR ALONZO SHAVERS 1993-95 Played in 10 games during his three seasons on the team.  
DB CURTIS CROSBY 1999-00 Missed the 1999 season due to academics, played in 12 games for a total of 27 minutes in 2000. Had 100 tackles, 12 PBUs and 2 INTs his senior year.
HB ROSHAWN PARKER 2001-04 Walked on in 2001 after transferring from Ashland, had four career carries for six yards. All-City and All-District honoree, played both DB and RB.
FB DIONTE JOHNSON 2004-07 Captain as a senior, three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. All-Ohioan at FB as a senior, won City wrestling championship as a junior. 
HB DARRYL WOOD 2011-12 Walked on and redshirted in 2011, did not have a carry.  All-City and All-District, recorded 98 tackles as a senior.
DB RON TANNER 2011-14 Academic All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2014. Played in 12 of the 15 games during the national championship season and tallied 8 tackles. All-City, All-District and All-Metro, played S and QB and had 104 tackles, three INTs and 15 PBUs as a senior, also passed for 1,100 yards and 14 TDs.
CB/RB DEVONTE BUTLER 2013-14 Walked on in 2013, had four carries for 14 yards. Played four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track.

Warrior wrap-up

A coed public high school located on Columbus' east side, Eastmoor Academy competes in the Columbus City League and Division 3, Region 11.

The Warriors went 6–3 during the regular season last year and defeated Jonathan Alder in the first round of the playoffs. The postseason run ended with a loss to Jackson in the second round.

The Warriors have qualified for the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, including a run to the state semifinal in 2018. 

Eastmoor’s athletic department has won three state titles, all earned by the girls' track team.

Other famous alumni

In addition to the 19 Warriors who have gone on to play football at Ohio State, there are several alumni from Eastmoor who have achieved success in the sports world and elsewhere, including:

Fun Fact: The movie Speak, starring Kristen Stewart, was filmed at Eastmoor in 2003.

Why are Buckeyes prior to 1970 not highlighted or included in the rankings? Ohio State's official rosters did not list players’ high schools before 1970.

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