With tackles such as John Hicks, Orlando Pace, Korey Stringer and numerous others starring for the Buckeyes, expectations are high for any player that comes to Columbus trying to lock down one of the offensive tackle spots. Not only are the tackles counted on to try and open up holes for the running game, but they also have to keep their quarterback clean. As the tackles go, the team goes.
With most of the aughts spent under the Tresselball regime, solid offensive tackles were needed if a team was going to consistently play close games and come out on top. The Buckeyes recruited some very quality offensive tackles during the Tressel era and it showed on the field with three BCS National Championship Game appearances and at least a share of six Big Ten championships during the decade.
The candidates are:
Alex Boone (2005-2008)
The 2nd commitment of the 2005 recruiting class for the Buckeyes was Alex Boone, who committed to Ohio State before his junior season at St. Edward's in Lakewood, Ohio. Boone's first real action for the Buckeyes was during the Penn State game in 2005 when he filled in for Kirk Barton, who left the game due to a knee injury. The next week against Michigan State was the first of Boone's 36 career starts for the Buckeyes.
There was plenty of accolades for Boone during his time in Columbus, as he helped lead the Buckeyes to four straight Big Ten titles and BCS bowl berths during his time on campus. In 2007 Boone was named to the second team All-Big Ten and in 2008 he was named to the first team to go along with his second team All American honors.
Not only did Boone just participate in the Super Bowl a few months ago, but he also has a rhino named after him at the San Francisco Zoo!
Mike Adams (2008-2011)
Dublin Coffman's Mike Adams was one of the most coveted offensive line recruits in the class of 2008 and expectations were high when he announced that he was committed to The Ohio State University. While injury and off-the-field issues didn't allow Adams to fully meet those expectations, he still was a dominant force on the line for the Buckeyes.
Adams was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, starting in 25 games during his career. In 2010 Adams was named to the first team All-Big Ten team, and in 2011 earned second team honors, even with missing five games due to suspension from the "Tat-gate" scandal.
Had Adams not missed seven games in 2009 (five due to injury and two to suspension) and the five games in 2011, we might be talking about Adams being one of the winners in this category. Even with all those problems, it was great to have Adams protecting the Ohio State quarterbacks during his time in Columbus.
But The Winners Are...
Shane Olivea (2000-2003)
Olivea was originally committed to Georgia Tech but switched his commitment to Ohio State when there was some changes in the coaching staff at Georgia Tech. Olivea came to Columbus from Cedarhurst, NY (a small village on the south shore of Long Island).
While the list of those that fell just short of being named to the LGHL All-Decade Team is pretty impressive, it is hard to not honor a Buckeye that was a integral part to Ohio State's run in 2002 to the National Championship. Along with being a part of that great Buckeye team, Olivea also twice earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
Kirk Barton (2003-2007)
Barton arrived at Ohio State in 2003, and he was red-shirted his first year in Columbus and spent most of his time working with the scout team. 2004 was when Barton really made his presence known, starting the final 7 games of the season for the Buckeyes. During those 7 games that Barton started, the running game significantly improved, averaging almost 60 rushing yards more a game in those contests.
2005 saw Barton suffer a right ACL tear against Penn State which led to him missing games against Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, and return briefly against Illinois. A left foot plantar fasciitis injury hampered Barton in 2006 but he was able to play through the pain and start all 13 games for the Buckeyes as they went to the BCS National Championship Game. With Barton anchoring the line, the Buckeyes were able to put up an average of over 400 yards of offense per game during the season.
While the Buckeye offense in 2007 didn't have the luxury of Troy Smith under center, Barton made sure to keep Todd Boeckman clean, only giving up one sack during the season. Barton's efforts didn't go unnoticed, as he was named a 2007 All-Big Ten first team selection. During his career at Ohio State, Barton only allowed three quarterback sacks on 670 pass plays
During the aughts Ohio State had four worthy candidates that could have been included on the "All-Decade Team". Now we ask you, who would be your choices for the top offensive tackle spot?