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Six Ohio State football players named to ESPN’s 150 greatest players list

Eddie George is the highest-ranked Buckeye of the first 125 names of the list that have been revealed.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Washington v Ohio State Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN has named 125 players on its list of the 150 greatest college football players ever, and it’s no surprise that the list is full of Buckeyes so far. Of those ranked No. 26 - No. 150, six of those players are from Ohio State. The top-25 players on the list will be revealed at halftime of Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship, and there is sure to be a few more Buckeyes included.

The highest Buckeye of the first 125 players revealed is Eddie George, who was the 38th greatest college football player of all-time according to ESPN. George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995 and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. The running back finished his Ohio State career with 3,768 yards rushing, with the bulk of those yards coming in his final two seasons in Columbus, where he ran for 1,442 yards in 1994 and 1,927 yards in 1995.

George wasn’t the only Ohio State running back to make the list, as Howard “Hopalong” Cassady was ranked No. 47 on the list. Cassady won the Heisman Trophy 40 years before George, taking home the award in 1955, when he became the first player to surpass 2,000 points in the voting.

The only two defensive players on the list were a couple of the hardest hitters Ohio State fans have ever seen. Defensive back Jack Tatum was a two-time unanimous All-American, which led to him being ranked No. 44 on this list. Nearly 100 spots later is linebacker Chris Spielman, who was ranked as the 143rd best player all-time in college football. Spielman was also a two-time All-American. Spielman was not only the winner of the 1987 Lombardi Award, but he was also an unanimous All-American that season.

The other two Buckeyes to be included on the list came from the offensive line. Orlando Pace — ranked No. 51 — was so good he was actually a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1996, which is something very few offensive linemen can claim. Pace won the Lombardi Award twice during his Ohio State career, as well as the Outland Trophy. Guard Jim Parker also won the Outland Trophy, taking home the award in 1956. Parker was ranked two spots ahead of Spielman at No. 141 on the list.

“He just runs hard, man. He’s a hard runner, puts his nose down, and take a couple guys with him. I would definitely say he probably surpassed everyone’s expectation.”

- Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis on running back Master Teague via Griffin Strom, The Lantern

With J.K. Dobbins having announced his intention to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, the next man up at Ohio State’s running back position looks to be Master Teague. All Teague did in his redshirt freshman season was run for 789 yards — which ranked seventh in the Big Ten —while backing up Dobbins. Teague knows he has huge shoes to fill in replacing the only Ohio State running back to ever rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

While Teague got a taste of what a full season of college football is like, he’ll have to work on his endurance during the offseason, because it was obvious he wore down as the season went on. Against Penn State, Michigan, and Clemson at the end of the year, Teague rushed for just 45 yards on 21 carries. Even though questions about Teague rose after he rushed for just nine yards on seven carries in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson, there’s no doubt coaches like Mickey Marotti will be working with Teague during the offseason to make sure he is ready to handle a heavier workload.

Teague might not have to do it all alone at running back though, as Ohio State also has Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers ready to prove they deserve a share of the workload. Crowley had started to make some noise in mop-up duty for Ohio State, but his season was cut short when he suffered an injury against Maryland. Chambers only saw 19 carries this year, but it’s not crazy to think he could make the same sort of jump next year that Teague did this year.

After leaning heavily on Dobbins this year, Ohio State might have to start next year relying on the arm and legs of Justin Fields now that the quarterback has a year under his belt in Ryan Day’s system. With teams having to key on Fields more than in 2019, it could eventually open up the running game for Ohio State, which will allow this trio of running backs to gain some confidence.

The Ohio State men’s basketball season hasn’t had much to cheer about recently, but one piece of good news came down yesterday when it was announced that Kaleb Wesson was included on the midseason John Wooden Award watch list. Wesson was also included on the preseason watch list, which highlighted 50 players, and has now made the cut as one of the 25 players on the midseason watch list.

After toying with entering the NBA Draft following last season, Wesson decided to return to school for his junior season, now averaging 14.7 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game on the year. Wesson is one of six players from the Big Ten to be included on the midseason watch list. The junior big man will be looking for a strong second half of the season to impress the voters, and trying to join Evan Turner as the only Ohio State players to win the award, which has been given out annually since 1976.

Junior goaltender Tommy Nappier capped off 2019 in style, earning HCA National Goaltender of the Month honors. Nappier finished the month 4-0-1, registering two shutouts, and posting a .970 save percentage. The St. Louis native started the month by recording his 1,000th career save in an overtime win over Minnesota, and he didn’t look back in his other four starts.

For the year, Nappier ranks in the top-10 in the NCAA with a 1.86 goals against average, as well as a .933 save percentage. Nappier has started all but one game for Ohio State this season, posting an 11-5-2 record. Nappier’s performance this season comes on the heels of last year’s campaign, where he was Big Ten Goalie of the Year.

After losing to Cornell and then defeating Army in the first two games of 2020, Ohio State hits the road in conference play this weekend, traveling to Madison for a pair of matchups with Wisconsin. Ohio State is tied for second in the Big Ten behind Penn State, but the Buckeyes have six weekends of action to close the gap on the Nittany Lions before the Big Ten Tournament begins.