99 Warriors: No. 23, All-Big Ten Running Back, Ron Springs

By James Grega on August 9, 2018 at 8:05 am
Ron Springs

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. 23 Ron Springs

The father of Shawn Springs, who was named our best player in this series at No. 24, Ron Springs made a name for himself as a consistent force in the Ohio State backfield under Woody Hayes.

RB Ron Springs

b. Nov. 4, 1956 (Williamsburg, VA)
d. May 12, 2011 (Dallas, TX)

  • First Team All-Big Ten (1977)
  • Team Captain (1978)
  • Big Ten co-champion (1976-77)

Springs, along with the likes of Jeff Logan, helped replace the shoes left by two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. In 1976, Springs earned 72 carries for 389 yards and a pair of scores, good for fourth on the team behind Logan, who lead the Buckeyes with 1,248 yards, Pete Johnson and Rod Gerald. 

After Logan was injured early on in the 1977 season, Springs became Ohio State's featured running back and led the team in rushing yards, carrying 200 times for 1,166 yards and seven touchdowns. He also led the team in receptions that season, despite catching just 16 passes for 90 yards. 

Springs was named a co-captain in 1978, but due to a knee injury suffered early in the season, saw his carries decrease significantly in his senior year. He earned 124 carries for 585 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 1978, which was also the final year of Woody Hayes' tenure at Ohio State. His 2,140 career rushing yards ranks 21st in school history.

Springs was drafted in the fifth round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, where he excelled for the majority of his professional career. In six years with the Cowboys, Springs accumulated 604 carries for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns before ending his career with two seasons in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers. 

The former Buckeye, Cowboy and Buccaneer passed away in May of 2011 at the age of 54 of a heart attack while in a coma, a state he was in for almost four years. 

Photo: Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

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