Ohio State has a strong history of producing quality defensive tackles. Each year of Jim Tressel's era with the Buckeyes always seemed to include a tough interior to the defensive line. It was a reliable position for the team throughout the 2000s, and it continues to be, even with big Johnathan Hankins leaving for the NFL. It's your time to shine, Michael Bennett.
Looking back over the last decade, there were several tackles that Buckeye fans still hold dearly in their hearts. Let's look at a few candidates before getting to the two names on the LGHL all-decade team.
Ryan Pickett (1998-2000)
A three year starter capable of lining up at either DT roles, Pickett was a space eater who also sometimes found his way into the backfield, much to the chagrin of opposing ball carriers and signal callers. There's a case to be made that Pickett didn't really come into his own until he left school early for the next level (where he's since turned in a long and extremely productive NFL career), but he was still an impact player at the collegiate level.
Kenny Peterson (1999-2002)
Being a member of a national championship squad is bound to earn some type of mention on a greatest players list. Peterson finished 2002 with second team All-Big Ten honors. His forced fumble in the first half of the title game against Miami might be his biggest moment from his college years.
Tim Anderson (2000-2003)
Anderson didn't really get a chance to shine until Pickett declared for the pros, but he responded by immediately recording a three sack season his first as a starter. He'd go on to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2002 and first-team recognition the next year. During the Buckeyes' national title run, Anderson had a key fourth-down pass breakup against Illinois that helped clinch a 23-16 victory over the Illini.
Quinn Pitcock (2004-2006)
Pitcock was named a consensus All-American for his monster 2006 season. He recorded eight sacks as a senior, dominating up front as the Buckeyes made a run to the BCS Championship. (We'll exclude the results of that game.) Pitcock was also a captain that year.
He won the Bill Willis (a former Buckeye) award as a senior, which goes to the top collegiate defensive lineman. He could have made the list with one more year like his final run at Ohio State.
But the winners are...
Darrion Scott (2000-2003)
A first team All-Big Ten selection in 2002 ultimately lands Scott a spot on this list. He finished with 8.5 sacks that year, serving as an integral part of Ohio State's most recent national championship.
Scott came up with a fumble recovery with a little over two minutes to play in the first half of the title game against Miami, the same fumble the aforementioned Peterson forced. Less than a minute afterward, Maurice Clarett broke free for a 7-yard touchdown to put the Buckeyes up 14-7 before halftime.
He finished his college tenure with 14.5 sacks, but the huge campaign in 2002 easily stands out as his claim to fame in Ohio State lore.
Cameron Heyward (2007-2010)
Heyward was a highly coveted recruit after being named the Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. The son of the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward proved to be a versatile defender for the Buckeyes, eventually turning into a first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
He played all four years at Ohio State, finishing with 15.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss. Heyward was also a captain his senior season. He moved around on the defensive line (and arguably could've qualified as an end had we elected), but wherever he lined up, Heyward constantly disrupted opposing backfields and created problems for opposing linemen.
The Buckeyes lost several starters up front after 2009, so Heyward was instrumental to their 12-1 finish the following year. His 80-yard interception on third-and-goal against No. 12 Miami stands out as one of the most memorable plays. Jacory Harris surely remembers it fondly. Heyward came up with a huge performance against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, pressuring Ryan Mallett and helping Ohio State win its first bowl game against the SEC. (Yes, I know the game was vacated, but we all saw it happen, so there.)
These are the two selections from the LGHL staff. Who was your favorite defensive tackle of the 2000s?