Ohio State student-athletes will soon be able to use their NIL alongside and in conjunction with Ohio State’s trademarks and logos. This licensing program will begin by offering jerseys and then grow to include other merchandise. https://t.co/p1PDUkASPI— Jerry Emig (@BuckeyeNotes) August 3, 2021
Gone are the days of the Ohio State jersey with a number and no name on the back. With NIL legislation passing, now college athletes can opt-in to a group licensing agreement that would allow them to have their name appear on the back of jerseys. The licensing agreement would also the athletes to appear in video games, on apparel, bobbleheads, and other items.
I’ll be honest, I was a fan of the nameless jerseys since you could get a lot more mileage out of them. For example, I bought a No. 3 Ohio State jersey years ago. At the time Brandon Saine was wearing the number, and since then Michael Thomas, Damon Arnette, and Demario McCall have been a few of the Buckeyes to sport that number. At least it’s not like buying the jersey of a player on a professional sports team, since they could be traded in six months and you’ll be regretting blowing so much money on the jersey.
I do understand wanting to sport the name and number of your favorite player, though. Some players just connect with fans better than others. Just imagine how many Maurice Clarett jerseys you would have seen in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio in 2002 if NIL was a thing nearly two decades ago. Aaron Craft is another great example, and imagine the use you would have gotten out of a Craft jersey since he played at Ohio State for 14 years.
With the announcement of Ohio State players soon having jerseys with their names on them being sold, my mind started to wander to which Buckeye athletes over the last 15 or so years would have been jerseys I would have wanted the most. Of course everyone is going to have wanted a Justin Fields, Greg Oden, or Chase Young jersey, so I tried to think of some of the more obscure names that would have been a hit. Jerseys that would have made people stop and give a little respect at the originiality of sporting that player’s jersey.
“Big Bob” will forever be a favorite at LGHL. If there was ever a hall of fame of Buckeyes that the staff at LGHL loved unconditionally, Landers would be a first-ballot hall of famer. BB was always a solid contributor for the Buckeyes, but what really set him apart was his personality. How much do I respect Landers? I think about the only thing that might make me want to wear a cowboy hat is if I was wearing a Landers jersey.
[Editors Note: I interviewed Robert Landers for a project for my capstone class senior year about athlete compensation, and he was just as nice a person as you would expect! — Gene]
This is more because of what a great last name Stoneburner is. It’s pretty tough to find many last names over the last couple decades at Ohio State that are better than Stoneburner. It doesn’t hurt that the tight end made some noise while on the field in the scarlet and gray, catching 53 passes and scoring 13 touchdowns.
Kenny Guiton/Chris Chugunov
Sometimes the backup quarterbacks are nearly as big of fan favorites as the starting quarterbacks. Kenny Guiton won over the hearts of Ohio State faithful when he led the Buckeyes to a comeback win over Purdue in 2012 after he replaced an injured Braxton Miller, and followed that up by treating the fans to some smooth jazz in a couple starts in 2013.
CHUGZ! Chris Chugunov didn’t see as much time on the field as Guiton did at Ohio State, but when he did enter the game you know the Buckeyes had things pretty much wrapped up. Chugunov was essentially Ohio State’s version of a victory cigar, which is why he became a fan favorite.
How can I include someone that won a national title and the Heisman Trophy at another school? Imagine if you had gotten a Joe Burrow Ohio State jersey before he transferred to LSU. You might be able to get a little coin for it since it likely would have been a collectors item because of how rare it would be.
Cameron Johnston/Drue Chrisman
Punters are people too! It helps that Ohio State has had a number of great punters over the years. Whether it be the pinpoint punting Aussie or the bottle-flipping king, you know only the true hardcore fans would be seen wearing the jersey of a punter.
The inclusion of Laurinaitis on this list pretty much goes against all the criteria that I mentioned earlier, but I couldn’t help putting him on the list since he is one of my favorite Buckeyes of the last two decades. Lil’ Animal did 33 proud during his time in Columbus and it is hard to think of many Buckeyes who are more respected than Laurinaitis.
One of the most famous Buckeye basketball players of the last two decades is someone who didn’t really step foot on the court all that much. Titus quickly became a fan favorite, and is still one of the most beloved Ohio State players at all time. While “Club Trillion” first started as a bit of a joke, it actually has turned into something that helps walk-on student athletes.
Amedeo Della Valle
As fun as Della Valle is to say, it looks even better on the back of a jersey. Just imagine how many Della Valle jerseys would have been sold if NIL was a thing back in 2014, when ADV jokingly ran for student-body president. While we got cheated of maximum Della Valle after he went to play professionally in Italy following his sophomore season, he still is one of the most likable Buckeyes you’ll ever find.
One Buckeye who we did get four years out of was Sam Thompson, and what a highlight reel he amassed by the time his senior season came to a close. Slam Thompson could jump out of the gym and make the crowd go wild with some of his dunks. Thompson certainly would have given anyone who bought his jersey their monies worth, since he played in 146 games during his Ohio State career.
Obviously there are plenty more names that could be added to this list, especially if we expanded to other sports like baseball, women’s basketball, or soccer. If you have any players you feel strongly about, feel free to leave your picks in the comments or hit us up on Twitter at @Landgrant33.