All-American Ohio State Running Back/Fullback John Brockington Dies at 74 Years Old

By Dan Hope on March 31, 2023 at 6:11 pm
John Brockington
Malcolm Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

One of Ohio State’s “Super Sophomores” passed away on Friday.

John Brockington, who helped the Buckeyes win a pair of national championships in 1968 and 1970 and earned All-American honors as a fullback in 1970, died Friday in San Diego at 74 years old, per an announcement from the Green Bay Packers.

In three seasons as a Buckeye, Brockington had 378 carries for 1,663 yards and 24 touchdowns. He made history in 1970 by rushing for 1,142 yards and 17 touchdowns, both of which were school records at the time, on 261 carries.

That record-setting final season led to Brockington being selected with the No. 9 overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 1971 NFL draft. He became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons in the league, earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1971 and making the Pro Bowl after all three seasons, in which he ran for 3,276 combined yards.

In seven total seasons with the Packers, Brockington ran for 5,024 yards, which are still the fourth-most in franchise history. He finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1977 before retiring. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1984.

Brockington is a member of Ohio State’s All-Century team for the 20th century and was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.

During a 50th anniversary reunion of the 1968 national championship team in 2018, Brockington told Eleven Warriors that he remained close with his former Ohio State teammates 50 years later.

“It really is great because when we were in college, Woody said that your best friends in life are sitting in this room with you right now, you just don’t know it,” Brockington recalled. “And it kind of worked out that way. We’re very close.”

He said Ohio State’s 1968 national championship run was one of his fondest memories.

“Going to the Rose Bowl was pretty special, and beating Michigan that first year, because I’m from New York, and I really didn’t know much about the Michigan rivalry until I got here. So after being exposed to Woody and the coaching staff, you become as crazy as everybody else in the state. And winning that game the way we did that sophomore year, because that was our big rival and we crushed them, like 50-14, that was unbelievable,” Brockington said. “Then we went to the Rose Bowl and we beat O.J. Simpson’s USC team, so that was a real, real special year for us.”

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