If you really want to get an argument going among Ohio State fans, try coming up with a list of the best receivers in school history and then start ranking them.
In trying to pare the list down to a personal top 10, I started with a list of nearly two dozen, each of whom led the Buckeyes at least one season in receiving. Of course, the list is going to be heavily swayed by recent players who benefit from playing in more wide-open offenses. After all, as recently as 1973, no Ohio State receiver reached double figures in receptions for the season.
I further pared the list by eliminating tight ends such as John Frank and Jim Houston – we’ll rank the best players at that position at a later date. Still, I have a top 10 that doesn’t have room for some of the top performers in school history. But, hey, you’ve got to make the cut somewhere.
This is my list of Ohio State’s top 10 receivers of all-time. See how it compares to yours.
1. David Boston – Kind of amazing how this guy doesn’t get move love from the Buckeye Nation seeing how he’s pretty much the gold standard for Ohio State receivers. In only three seasons, Boston established the school record for career receptions with 191. He also has the top two single-season totals – 73 in 1997 and 85 the following year – and grabbed 10 or more receptions in a game five times in his career. No other Buckeye receiver in history ever did that more than twice.
2. Cris Carter – If not for Boston, Carter would be the no-brainer at No. 1. But they were different kinds of receivers. While Boston overpowered defensive backs, Carter beat his opponents with grace, finesse and an innate ability to remain airborne for ridiculous lengths of time. Although his OSU career lasted only three years, Carter still managed to set several school records, including becoming the first Buckeye receiver to crack the 1,000-yard mark when he set then single-season records in 1986 with 69 catches for 1,127 yards. Because his college career ended on a sour note, he’ll likely miss out on the College Football Hall of Fame. But after an ultra-productive NFL career, Carter seems a sure bet to get a bust in Canton.
3. Gary Williams – Raw speed, soft hands and God-given ability allowed Williams to become a pass-catching machine for the Buckeyes in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He caught a pass in every game he ever played at Ohio State, setting the school record at 48 for most consecutive games with at least one reception. When he finished his career after the 1982 season, Williams was the career leader in receptions (154), receiving yards (2,792) and TD catches (16). He remains in the top six in all three categories more than a quarter-century after playing his final game ins scarlet and gray.
4. Joey Galloway – In terms of blazing speed, Galloway has few peers in Ohio State history. He used those talents along with a penchant for running crisp, precise routes to finish his career with 108 receptions for 1,894 yards and 19 touchdowns. Perhaps the best thing about Galloway, however, was his adaptability. He worked with three different starting quarterbacks during his career and became one of the favorite targets of each of them. His career average of 17.5 yards per catch still ranks ninth all-time in school history.
5. Michael Jenkins – Neither flashy nor flamboyant, all Jenkins did during his time as Buckeye was catch passes. When he finished his career after the 2003 season, he wound up the school’s career leader in receiving yardage with 2,898 as well as third in total receptions with 165. Of course, even if he hadn’t piled up all those catches and all those yards, one particular reception late in the 2002 season would have forever cemented Jenkins’ place in Ohio State football history. All you ever have to do to put a smile on any Buckeye fan’s face is utter two simple words: “Holy Buckeye.”
6. Doug Donley – Somewhat overshadowed by Williams and somehow forgotten over the past 25 years, Donley combined with Art Schlichter to terrorize Big Ten secondaries throughout the late 1970s. The man dubbed “White Lightning” because of his blinding speed on artificial surfaces led the Buckeyes in receiving for three consecutive years, becoming the first to accomplish that feat in nearly 20 years. Donley became the first receiver in OSU history to crack the 2,000-yard mark for his career, and his 2,252 yards still ranks sixth all-time. Better yet, his average of 21.24 yards per catch still ranks No. 2 in school history.
7. Cedric Anderson – If there is a guy who gets lost in the mention of top Ohio State receivers since 1980, it would have to be Anderson. It shouldn’t be that way. He was overshadowed by playing with Donley and Williams, but when opponents paid too much attention to that duo, Anderson struck. He managed to catch 80 passes for 1,707 yards and 12 TDs during his career. But more than raw numbers was what Anderson could do after the catch. His lifetime average of 21.3 yards per catch is tops in school history.
8. Santonio Holmes – Never the biggest or the fastest on his team, Holmes simply knows how to get open and then what to do with the football after he catches it. He had a somewhat rocky beginning to his Ohio State career, but once he got himself into the starting lineup, Holmes became one of the most reliable pass-catchers in recent years. He quietly finished fifth in school history in receptions (140) and receiving yardage (2,295) and trails on Boston and Carter on the all-time list of touchdown catches with 25. Holmes also had three games in his career of 150 yards or more, topped by 224 against Marshall in 2004.
9. Terry Glenn – Many people don’t remember that Glenn was originally a walk-on because of academics. They also forget that he started only one year for the Buckeyes. But that one season was an electrifying one as Glenn smashed nearly every receiving record on the OSU books. He had 64 receptions for 1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns. The reception total shattered the existing single-season mark by nearly 300 yards and still stands second all-time; the TD mark remains the OSU record for a single season. His 21.22-yard career average per catch also puts Glenn third in school history, just a hair behind Anderson and Donley.
10. Billy Ray Anders – Every one of the players on this list was a high school star before he got to Ohio State. Not Anders, however. He didn’t even play high school football. On a dare, he went out for the team as a sophomore walk-on and became team captain by his senior year in 1967. By his own admission, Anders was the slowest receiver on the team. But what he lacked in quickness, he more than made up for with great hands. Oldtimers still talk about a touchdown catch he had during a 14-10 win over Iowa in 1966. On a third-and-8 play, Anders slipped to the turf while making his cut and still managed to reach up and snag the ball one-handed to sustain the winning touchdown drive. By the time he finished his career in 1967, he was the school’s all-time leading receiver with 108 catches for 1,318 yards.
Not bad for a program generally not known for producing top-notch receivers. And my list doesn’t even include guys like Ted Ginn Jr., Jeff Graham, Dee Miller, Mike Lanese, Dick Wakefield, Bob Grimes, Bob Shaw, Dick Wakefield, Bruce Jankowski and Brian Baschnagel. Give me just those guys and you’d have a pretty good top 10.
If you like to check out my other positional top 10s, simply click on these links:
FLOYD OF THE BUCKEYES
Today’s Buckeye birthday belongs to the late Floyd Stahl, who worn many hats in the Ohio State athletic department during his career.
Born July 18, 1899, Stahl was a baseball player at Illinois and earned the distinction of beating out the legendary Red Grange for the starting centerfield job in 1926. After graduation, Stahl went into coaching and first earned a name for himself by guiding Dayton Stivers to three consecutive Class A Ohio basketball championships from 1928-30.
Three years later, Stahl arrived at Ohio State – but as head coach of the baseball team. He spent six seasons in that capacity, and during the same time, he was also on Francis Schmidt’s football staff as backfield coach.
In 1939, Stahl left Columbus and became baseball coach at Harvard, directing the Crimson to their first Ivy League championship.
Beginning in 1943, Stahl also became head basketball coach at Harvard, and led the team to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1946. Ironically, the Crimson was knocked out of the tourney in the Elite Eight by Ohio State.
Stahl returned to Ohio State the following year to take over the baseball program again and remained in the dugout with the Buckeyes through 1950. That same year, he became head basketball coach, remaining in that capacity until succeeded by freshman coach Fred Taylor following the 1957-58 season.
While he was basketball coach, Stahl also served in the OSU athletic department as an associate athletic director, and one of his duties was to make travel arrangements for the football team. Normally, that wasn’t a problem. But when the football team earned a trip to the 1955 Rose Bowl, Stahl was sent to California to make the arrangements for the bowl game – during the middle of basketball season. That left Taylor in charge for at least two varsity games that season.
Stahl became a fulltime assistant AD in 1958, and eight years later came out of coaching “retirement” to pilot the Ohio State golf team for one season.
For his OSU coaching career, Stahl compiled a 129-108-1 career record in baseball, 84-92 in basketball and his golf team won the Big Ten championship in 1966 and finished tied for 12th at the NCAA tournament.
Stahl, who was elected to the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, remained a fixture in the OSU athletic department throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, serving in a variety of capacities.
He died July 15, 1996, just three days shy of his 97th birthday.
Those around the world celebrating birthdays today include: former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn; figure skating commentator Dick Button; actor Burt Kwouk (he played Inspector Clouseau’s manservant Cato in the Peter Sellers “Pink Panther” movie series); film director Paul Verhoeven (“Robocop,” “Basic Instinct,” Total Recall” and “Showgirls”); billionaire and former U.S. Presidential candidate Steve Forbes; British entrepreneur Richard Branson; Fifties and Sixties singer Dion Dimucci (“A Teenager In Love,” “Abraham, Martin and John”); Martha and the Vandellas lead singer Martha Reeves; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre; Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Torii Hunter; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets; Seattle Seahawks receiver Deion Branch; TV actor James Brolin (also the current Mr. Barbra Streisand); actress Kristen Bell; Grammy-winning bluegrass singer/musician Ricky Skaggs; three-time Masters champion golfer Nick Faldo; and Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African president Nelson Mandela, who is 90 today.
** I may change the name of this blog to “Rick Reilly Is An Idiot.” Coming off a blithering performance at Monday night’s Home Run Derby, the so-called Sportswriter of the Year jetted over to Royal Birkdale along with the other ESPNites to give “insight” on the British Open. One of his nuggets from the first day: 53-year-old Greg Norman is a nice story but it won’t last. Hey, Genius. Norman finished his second round early Friday and was the leader in the clubhouse at even par.
** It looks like the Cleveland Browns will be without one of their offensive leaders for the first part of the season. Veteran receiver Joe Jurevicius – one of those guys who just knows how to get open on third down – will likely miss the first six weeks of the regular season after a second knee surgery in six months. Jurevicius, who seems like he’s been in the league forever but is still only 33, caught 50 balls last season for 614 yards and three touchdowns.
** Down I-71 in Cincinnati, the Bengals are simply trying to retain a shred of respectability. But I have to say, this particular item doesn’t give me any comfort. According to ESPN.com, Cincinnati has interest in former receiver and legal nightmare Chris Henry if the NFL reinstates him. I can sum that news up in six little words: you have got to be kidding. Are my Bungles really that desperate?
** From the Dayton Daily News: Bo Schembechler’s widow claims he “would be elated” about the changes going on right now at Michigan under new head coach Rich Rodriguez and that the Ann Arbor community is “really jacked up and excited” about the prospects of the Wolverines’ 2008 season. Interesting take. I wonder how jacked up they’ll be after the season opener against Utah … and after the Big Ten season begins with Wisconsin and Illinois back-to-back … and after a Nov. 22 trip to Columbus.
** Good news for those of you with the NFL Network – no more Bryant Gumbel during game telecasts. Longtime New York Giants radio announcer Bob Papa will take over play-by-play duties this year for the NFL Network. Papa will team with holdover color man Cris Collinsworth for the network’s eight Thursday night games this fall.
** The other night I ate at a real family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.