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. 19 Tom Tupa
A football, baseball and basketball star at Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Tom Tupa led the Bees to a state title in 1983. He immediately made an impact at Ohio State, where he set the NCAA record for highest average yards per punt as a freshman (47.1). The Buckeyes won the Big Ten and clinched a berth in the Rose Bowl that season.
QB/P Tom Tupa
b. Feb. 6, 1966 (Cleveland, OH)
- All-American (1987)
- All-Big Ten (1984-87)
- Team Captain (1987)
- Big Ten Champion (1984, 1986)
Tupa was also a backup quarterback, sitting three seasons behind Mike Tomczak and Jim Karsatos. He took over the starting job during his senior year in 1987 — Earle Bruce’s last as Ohio State’s head coach — and threw for 2,252 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to lead the Buckeyes to a 6-4-1 record, including win over Michigan.
Tupa was named an All-American punter that same season, as well as All-Big Ten for the fourth-consecutive season, as he punted the ball 63 times for an average of 47 yards per attempt.
Tupa was selected in the third round (68th overall pick) of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Phoenix Cardinals. He punted for seven teams over the next 16 years, including the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins; was named to the Pro Bowl in 1999; and won a Super Bowl ring in 2002.
Tupa — who averaged 43.4 yards per punt in his NFL career, which is tied for 44th all time — is currently the recreation director for the City of Brecksville. He is also the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, where he coached his sons, Tommy and Tyler.
Photo: Ohio State Dept. of Athletics