99 Warriors: No. 40, Heisman Trophy-Winning Running Back Howard “Hopalong” Cassady

By Dan Hope on July 23, 2018 at 8:05 am
Hopalong Cassady

We're counting down the days to kickoff with “99 Warriors,” the greatest Ohio State Buckeyes by jersey number, as voted by the staff of Eleven Warriors.

No. 40 Howard "Hopalong" Cassady

More than 60 years since he played his final game for the Ohio State football team, Howard "Hopalong" Cassady's name still stands among the Buckeyes' all-time greats.

RB Howard “Hopalong” Cassady

b. March 2, 1934 (Columbus, Ohio)

  • National Champion (1954)
  • Heisman Trophy (1955)
  • AP Male Athlete Of The Year (1955)
  • Maxwell Award (1955)
  • First-Team All-American (1954, 1955)
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (1954, 1955)
  • Team MVP (1954, 1955)
  • Ohio State Athletics Hall Of Fame (1977)
  • College Football Hall Of Fame (1979)

Cassady cemented his place in Buckeye immortality in 1955, when he became the third Ohio State player to win the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first player to ever exceed 2,000 points in Heisman voting – receiving more than three times as many votes as any other player.

A quadruple threat who ran the ball, caught passes, returned kickoffs and even played defensive back in Columbus, Cassady emerged as an immediate star for Ohio State in 1952, when he scored three touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes to a 33-13 win over Indiana in his first game as a Buckeye. 

Cassady emerged as one of the biggest stars in all of college football in his final two seasons as a Buckeye, though, earning unanimous All-American honors in both 1954 and 1955. He was also Ohio State's team MVP for both seasons, leading the Buckeyes to a national championship in 1954 before winning the Heisman the following year, when he was also named Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.

A product of Columbus' now-defunct Central High School, Cassady also played baseball at Ohio State, starting at shortstop for three years.

Cassady was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1956 NFL draft, and went on to play eight seasons in the NFL, including seven seasons with the Detroit Lions and one season in which he played for both the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

Following his retirement from football, Cassady returned to baseball, spending more than three decades working for the New York Yankees' organization, including a stint as the first-base coach for the Columbus Clippers (which were then the Yankees' AAA affiliate).

Cassady was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. His No. 40 was retired by Ohio State in 2000, making him one of just seven Buckeyes to have his number retired.

Photo: Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

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