Ohio State has produced only seven players who have been three-time consensus All-Americans, and three of them share birthdays just a day apart. Yesterday, it was Wes Fesler and Tom Skladany, and today it’s Mike Doss.
Michael Allen Doss was born June 30, 1981, in Canton, Ohio, and attended tradition-rich McKinley High School. He played running back and safety for the Bulldogs and helped them win back-to-back Division I state championships in 1997 and ’98.
During his senior season, Doss rushed for 1,454 yards and 22 touchdowns and added 111 tackles and three interceptions on defense. He earned first-team All-Ohio honors and was a USA Today honorable mention All-American.
All of his senior-year accomplishments at McKinley occurred after he had verbally committed to play at Ohio State, issuing his verbal less than a week after National Signing Day in 1998.
Doss played sparingly during the first part of his freshman season with the Buckeyes, but he slowly worked his way up the depth chart and started the final two games in 1999. He finished 10th on the team in tackles despite playing about 100 minutes fewer than the rest of the Buckeyes among the top 10.
In 2000, Doss was installed as the starting strong safety and never relinquished the position. He led the Buckeyes in tackles as a sophomore and junior, and then was an integral part of the team’s 2002 national championship run. Doss finished his OSU career with 331 tackles, more than any other defensive back in program history.
He was a second-round selection by Indianapolis in the 2003 NFL draft, and started at strong safety for four years for the Colts. But he suffered a serious knee injury in 2006, limiting him to just six games that season with Indianapolis, and in April 2007, Doss signed a one-year, free-agent contract with Minnesota. He spent the season playing behind five-time Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper and saw only eight games of action with the Vikings.
In five NFL seasons so far, he has played in 54 regular-season games (42 starts) and totaled 260 tackles, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles and one sack. But the Vikings have opted not to re-sign him, putting Doss’ pro football future in jeopardy.
Earlier this month, however, was a time for celebration. Doss was back on the Ohio State campus to participate in spring commencement ceremonies, earning his degree in communications. “In case of whatever happens in life,” he told his hometown Canton Repository, “I have that piece of paper and it will open up more opportunities for me.”
Also celebrating on this final day of June are velvety-voiced singer Lena Horne; Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Paul Berg; former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson; Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard; actress Nancy Dussault (first woman anchor on “Good Morning America”); former pro wrestler Terry Funk; former New York Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park; American Idol season three winner Fantasia Barrino; jazz bassist Stanley Clarke; comic actor David Alan Grier (“In Living Color”); NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin; multiple Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps; and one of my favorite actors Vincent D’Onofrio, who has played such diverse roles as tormented Pvt. Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence in “Full Metal Jacket,” the villainous bug in “Men In Black,” and quirky yet ultra-intelligent New York detective Robert Goren in “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”
This also marks the 37th anniversary of ratification of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On June 30, 1971, Ohio voted to ratify the amendment, giving it the necessary three-fourths vote of the country’s state legislatures. The next day, the voting age in the United States was officially lowered from 21 to 18.
** Phil Loadholt, the starting left tackle for Oklahoma, was charged June 21 with driving under the influence of alcohol and transporting an open container. According to state troopers, when they pulled over Loadholt, the 6-8, 350-pounder had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. While you pause to ponder just how much consumption it would take for a 350-pound man to blow a 0.15 on the breathalyzer, consider that troopers also reported that open containers of Busch Light beer and malt liquor were on the center console of Loadholt’s car. Then try to explain how Loadholt’s attorney could appear in court four days later and enter an innocent plea on his client’s behalf.
** Think they take their college athletics seriously in the Deep South? On the home page of The Telegram in Macon, Ga., all weekend long was a full-color picture and obituary of Uga VI, the bulldog that served as the mascot for the University of Georgia. According to the story, Uga VI was the biggest and winningest of the school’s line of mascots, and he died Friday in his hometown of Savannah. He died due to congestive heart failure at the age of 9, and was to be buried amid full-blown funeral ceremonies.
** What the hell is going on in Major League Baseball? First, outfielder Milton Bradley tried to get into a radio booth to confront an announcer, then pitcher Shawn Chacon grabbed his GM by the neck and threw him to the ground. Now, slugger Manny Ramirez has shoved Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground because McCormick might not have been able to get Manny the number of free tickets he requested for Saturday night’s game. Hmmm. Three separate bursts of seething rage? Gee, Mr. Commissioner, I thought you had “cleaned up” this game.
** Spain beat Germany, 1-0, yesterday to capture the European Championship in soccer, Spain’s first major international title in 44 years. I mention this only because it’s supposedly a big deal – in Europe anyway. On this side of the pond, not so much. I have a couple of co-workers who enjoy the game, but as an American guy who grew up playing and watching football, I just don’t get soccer. I guess I like a game with a little more scoring and one that plays a little more attention to its own game clock.
** Would you believe the Tampa Bay Rays have MLB’s best record at the midway point of the season? It’s true. I guess taking “devil” out of the official name was an honest-to-goodness exorcism for a team that has never lost fewer than 91 games in the 10-year history of its franchise.
** Is it true that cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?