While the last few All-Decade selections have been tough, all of them were really narrowed down to just a small handful of players. Are you a Troy or a TP guy? Beanie or Mo C? Zach Boren or Jamar Martin? This is the first category where we didn't just have to sift through two or three solid candidates, but seven.
Seems crazy doesn't it? From all the "three yards and a cloud of dust" and "strategic punting' we saw over the Tresselball era of the 2000s, they didn't exactly have the reputation for setting scoreboards on fire. But Ohio State was blessed with an absolute stable of excellent wideouts during the 2000s. Let's take a look at a few of the candidates:
Anthony Gonzalez (2004-2006)
Affectionately named "Gonzo", both as an abbreviation for his name and because he thought it would be a good idea to do things like, you know, sleep in a special pressurized tent, Gonzo will go down for his excellent 2006 season. In another 12-1 campaign, Gonzalez was 2nd on the team in receiving, catching 51 balls for 734 yards and 8 TDs. Gonzalez was exceptionally valuable for taking the pressure off another wide receiver, in this case, the electric Ted Ginn Jr, helping pave the way for an impressive all around aerial assault.
Ted Ginn Jr (2004-2006)
A tough omission, given not only his statistical performance, but for being one of the few skill players during this decade who had the ability to physically dominate some of his opponents. For all of the cracks about "Big Ten speed" during the decade, nobody could deny that Teddy had some serious burners. His 2005 and 2006 campaigns were both excellent, catching 51 balls for 803 yards in 2005, and 59 balls for 781 and 9 TDs in 2006. Ginn also grabbed 108 yards in "The Game of the Century", a 42-39 win over Michigan, and we'll always have that glorious return in the national title game against Florida. If you turned the game off right then, it's really quite a pleasant memory.
Brian Robiskie (2005-2008)
Robiskie didn't just have one exceptional season, he produced over multiple seasons. Robiskie was an important role player for the dynamic 2006 offense (5 TDs, 383 yards), then had two strong statistical seasons as a more primary target, picking up 935 yards on 55 catches during his junior 2007 campaign, then adding 535 yards and 8 TDs in a difficult 2008 campaign. Had he caught better QB luck during his senior season, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think he'd have another 2007 in him.
Brian Hartline (2006-2008)
Hartline never had a big breakout year, but was still a critical cog in the Ohio State passing attack that just about any other team in the conference would have love to have had. His best statistical season was in 2007, with 52 catches, 694 yards and 6 TDs, while sharing the skies with Robiskie. He was the leading pass-catcher for the Buckeyes in the 2007 national title game against LSU, with 75 yards and a score, but most Ohio State fans would just as soon forget that game ever happened.
Dane Sanzenbacher (2007-2010)
The Great Dane (did anybody ever call him that? If not, they should have), caught passes in all four years of his career, ending with a 55 catch, 948 yard, 11 TD senior season, leading the attack for a 12-1 2010 Buckeye squad. He was the thunder to DeVier Posey's lightning and helped make some of Ohio State's most potent offenses go.
Before we get to the actual winners, stop and think for a second. Those guys were all awesome, many of them had NFL careers, and we still had a few who were BETTER. What a great run for a position group.
But The Winners Are...
Santonio Holmes (2003-2005)
Holmes had the stats, the consistency and the dominance to get on the All-Decade list. Santonio was an important player as a sophomore, with 549 yards on 33 catches right out of the box, but really grew to dominate as an upperclassman, culminating with his 53 catch, 977 yard, 11 TD performance in 2005. With Ted Ginn lining up next to him, the Buckeye passing attack was really something to behold, with both of their excellence on display during the 34-20 carving up of Brady Quinn's Notre Dame squad in the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State rolled up 617 yards of offense in that game, (which probably caused Tressel's head to explode), with Holmes dropping an 85 yard TD reception on the Irish, as part of a 5 catch, 124 yard achievement. It's a close call, but given Holmes slightly better stats, we gave him the nod over Ginn.
Michael Jenkins (2001-2003)
You have to give love to the primary receiver on a team that won a National Title. Jenkins was the last wide receiver to pull in a 1000 yard season, grabbing 1076 on 61 catches in 2002. His 2003 campaign was also stellar, with 834 yards on 55 catches. Jenkins repeatedly came up big when the Buckeyes needed him on their march to the title, from catching the miracle 4th down pass to beat Purdue, to his huge day to boost the offense to a win over Wisconsin. Clarett may have been the engine of Ohio State's offense that season, but the Buckeyes aren't champions without the excellent efforts of Michael Jenkins.
Who's your choice to represent Ohio State as an All-Decade wide receiver?