As you scroll through articles on the internet, you might wonder, “How do these writers come up with this stuff?” Well, it’s simple really: research. Here’s a rare insight into my research technique. I was thinking that an awful lot of TV sportscasters have Ohio State backgrounds. Must be the most in the country, right? So, I entered, “Which university has produced the most TV sportscasters?” into Google. What did I get? Hofstra! Really? Hofstra?
I know that The Pride (formerly Flying Dutchmen; I looked it up) have had some super lacrosse teams; maybe they dominate the sport’s media. But as I read further, I realized that Hofstra leads the nation (apparently) in degrees given in sports broadcasting. So much for research.
Next, I decided to draw up my own list of former Buckeyes who have turned to broadcasting, specifically at a national level, after retiring from active competition.
Here’s my list, in my own ranked order.
1a) Kirk Herbstreit
It’s an easy one; Kirk Herbstreit’s face is the most familiar one in college football. He’s everywhere, most notably on ESPN’s “College GameDay” and then in the press box for ESPN or ABC as their lead analyst. Herbstreit played quarterback for Ohio State from 1989-92, starting during his senior year. His stats as a player were modest: 58.7 completion percentage, 1,904 yards passing, 4 touchdowns. But his career as a sportscaster has been stellar and has earned him five sports Emmy Awards.
1b) Clark Kellogg
“Special K” is nearly college basketball’s equivalent of Herbstreit. A McDonald’s High School All-American, Clark Kellogg played forward at OSU from 1979-82. During his Buckeye career, he averaged 14.9 points per game and 10.1 rebounds. Taken in the first round (eighth overall) in the NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers, Kellogg had a strong — but short — pro career.
In his five years as a Pacer, Kellogg averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. When knee trouble forced an early retirement, Kellogg turned to analyzing the game. He started at ESPN in 1990 and then replaced the legendary Billy Packer as lead college basketball analyst for CBS Sports before moving to the studio in 2014. Maybe that knee was still acting up, as Clark lost to President Obama in a game of P-O-T-U-S (presidential equivalent of H-O-R-S-E) in March 2010.
2) Cris Carter
Although Carter isn’t currently working in TV, he enjoyed a long career as a football analyst for HBO’s “Inside the NFL,” ESPN’s “Sunday (and Monday) NFL Countdown,” and Fox Sports. After his three-year career as a Buckeye (1984-86), where he gained 2,725 receiving yards and scored 27 receiving touchdowns, Carter played in the NFL for 16 seasons, 12 of them with the Vikings.
Selected for eight Pro Bowl teams, Cris Carter, with his nearly 14,000 receiving yards and 130 receiving TDs, still sits among the top ranks in many NFL receiving categories.
3) Chris Spielman
While he was at Ohio State (1985-87), linebacker Chris Spielman was a consensus All-American twice and won the 1987 Lombardi Award for the nation’s best lineman or linebacker.
Spielman played eight seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and two with the Bills, and technically retired as a member of the Cleveland Browns — though he never played for them. He led the league in total tackles (195) in 1994 and made four Pro Bowls.
Spielman began his broadcasting career at Fox in 1999, moved to ESPN a couple of years later, and returned to Fox as an analyst in 2016. At the end of 2020, Spielman hung up his analyst headphones as he accepted an executive position in the Lions’ organization.
4) Robert Smith
As a running back for the Bucks in the early 90s, Robert Smith averaged six yards per carry and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. In his eight years in Minnesota, Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards four times, was selected to two Pro Bowl teams, and had his best season during his final year in football, and retired in good health. Smith has analyzed pro football for ESPN, the NFL Network, and Fox Sports.
5) Joey Galloway
Galloway joined ESPN in 2012 as a college football analyst after a long and distinguished NFL career. He currently serves as a color commentator for the Worldwide Leader as well as one of the lead analysts for their college football studio shows.
Galloway played for 16 years for five different teams. He finished with 83 career touchdowns and 10,950 yards. As a Buckeye from 1991-94, Galloway caught 108 passes, averaging an impressive 17.5 yards per catch.
6) James Laurinaitis
If I can watch broadcasts in Savannah, Ga, then I’m going to consider the Big Ten Network national, and James Laurinaitis is a prominent face on the network during the football season.
Laurinaitis played linebacker for the Buckeyes for four years (2005-08) and had over 100 tackles in three of those years. One of Ohio State’s most celebrated LBs, he won the Nagurski Award (best defensive player) in 2006 and the Butkus Award (best linebacker) in 2007. Drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams, Laurinaitis played seven seasons in the NFL and started every game.
7) Jim Jackson
One of the greatest Buckeye basketball players ever, Jackson was a two-time All American at Ohio State and was UPI national collegiate player of the year in 1992. Playing for 12 different NBA teams over his 14-season career, Jackson enjoyed his best year as a pro in 1994-95 when he averaged 25.7 points per game as a Dallas Maverick. After retiring from the game, Jackson has been both a game and studio analyst for the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports.
I know that there are plenty of local sportscasters, and I know that I’ve probably missed some national ones, but this is an impressive list, and promising post-sports career just might await a number of current and future Buckeye athletes. Maybe Coaches Day and Holtmann should use it for recruiting!