Where were you 27 years ago? If you were an Ohio State football fan, you might have been poring over a list of head coach Earle Bruce’s newest recruits. It was a 23-member class that was top-heavy on in-state talent and split almost evenly between offensive and defensive prospects.
Just a week before signing day in 1982, Bruce was beginning to wonder about his recruiting numbers. The class number was stalled at 17, making the final weekend of official visits crucial for the Buckeyes. Unlike in recent years, though, OSU closed with a big finish, getting six verbal commitments just hours before National Signing Day dawned.
Among that half-dozen were two of the best players in Ohio – offensive lineman Bob Maggs of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney and running back Keith Byars of Dayton Roth. Both players were somewhat of a pleasant surprise for Bruce. Maggs was thought to be leaning toward a commitment to either Notre Dame or Penn State before signing with the Buckeyes. Meanwhile, Byars was thought to be headed for UCLA before deciding to play his college ball a little closer to home.
The other late-deciding members of the class of ’82 were defensive back Scott Leach of Bridgeport, Conn.; linebacker Tom Bose of Stow, Ohio; offensive lineman Tim Odom of Cincinnati Moeller; and defensive lineman Gene Hulshult of Hamilton (Ohio) Badin. Of those four, the Buckeyes seemed to be most impressed with Leach and Hulshult.
Leach picked Ohio State over offers from USC, Tennessee and Syracuse, and was described as a Jack Tatum clone, capable of delivering punishing tackles. Hulshult, meanwhile, was projected as a player ready to make an early impact on the depth chart.
“I think I have a good shot at playing,” Hulshult told Buckeye Sports Bulletin at the time. “I think I can go in and play. Maybe not as a freshman but as a sophomore or junior.”
Despite the fact Bruce often did much of his recruiting in his home state, he uncharacteristically went outside Ohio to sign the two quarterbacks in the 1982 class. Jim Karsatos of Fullerton, Calif., joined Walter Norley of Warrington, Pa., as new Buckeyes. At the same time, Bruce allowed one homegrown signal caller to escape his grasp.
That was Parade All-American QB Bernie Kosar of Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman, who signed with Miami (Fla.). After redshirting with the Hurricanes in 1982 behind starter Jim Kelly, Kosar broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in ’83 and led Miami to its first national championship.
Here is a complete list of Ohio State’s recruiting class of 1982. See how many of them you can remember.
Dan Bachorski, OT, Bridgeville (Pa.) Chartiers Valley – Bachorski played both offensive and defense in high school and earned all-state honors as an offensive tackle in 1981 as a senior. Unfortunately, he reported for his first Ohio State about 35 pounds overweight and spent most of his first few years as a Buckeye trying to keep his weight under control. Bachorski finally looked like he had turned the corner during spring practice in 1985 but he left the team shortly thereafter and won no letters during his OSU career.
Roman Bates, RB, Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton – The 6-0, 207-pound Bates had lots of speed and plenty of power. He could bench press 365 pounds and squat lift 665. As a high school senior, he rushed for 1,616 yards and 19 TDs, and then lettered for the Buckeyes in 1983 and ’84 as both a tailback and fullback. In those two seasons, he totaled 447 yards and averaged a nifty 5.0 yards per carry. But Bates was plagued by injuries and run-ins with the law during his OSU career. He was limited to only a handful of games during his junior season in 1985, and then shortly before the 1986 season opener, Bruce announced he had dismissed Bates from the team for “violating team regulations.”
Tom Bose, LB, Stow, Ohio – Bose was a two-sport from Stow and served as captain of his high school’s football and basketball teams as a senior. He won third-team All-Ohio honors in 1981 as a linebacker but was versatile enough to have also played offensive tackle and tight end for the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, he could not duplicate that success at Ohio State. Bose never lettered for the Buckeyes.
Keith Byars, FB, Dayton (Ohio) Roth – Over the last three decades, Byars is one of the most gifted all-around athletes to play football at Ohio State. He was a four-sport star at Roth and excelled at everything he tries. Byars rushed for 1,701 yards and 14 TDs as a senior; started at forward on two state basketball championship teams; played center field on the baseball team and hit .520 as a junior and .480 as a senior; and ran on the state track championship 440-yard relay team. After spending his freshman season as a backup fullback, Byars broke out as a sophomore with 1,199 yards and 20 TDs in 1983, and then had a junior season of epic proportions. In addition to rushing for 22 touchdowns, he broke the OSU single-season record with 1,764 yards. He also added 42 receptions for 479 yards and two more scores. That year, Byars finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting to Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie. Unfortunately, Byars broke a bone in his foot prior to his senior season in 1985 and was limited to only a handful of games. Nevertheless, he went on to become a first-round draft pick of Philadelphia in the 1986 NFL draft, and Byars enjoyed a 14-year pro career with the Eagles, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets.
Jeff Cargile, RB, Cincinnati (Ohio) Roger Bacon – The 6-1, 203-pounder did a little bit of everything in high school, earning a total of nine letters combined in football, basketball and track. He had 2,715 yards and 25 career TDs for the Spartans, and earned all-city honors as a senior. Because of a glut of talented running backs ahead of him, Cargile switched to defense and earned letters in 1983 and ’84 as backup to starting roverback Sonny Gordon. He left the program before the 1985 season.
Tom Glancy, OL, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman – Glancy was an accomplished high school athlete who won letters in football, wrestling and track, and he also dabbled in racquetball and swimming. The 6-4, 264-pound was recruited to play offensive guard for the Buckeyes and appeared ready to contend for the starting spot in 1985. But he couldn’t break into the two-deep and eventually left the program with no letters.
Steve Hill, DB, Fort Walton Beach (Fla.) Choctawhatchee – Hill was an Air Force brat who grew up all over the world. He was an excellent two-sport star in high school, and lettered in baseball as well as football for the Buckeyes. Hill hit .310 and played outfield for the baseball Buckeyes to win his only letter in 1985, and he earned three football letters from 1983-85 as a backup cornerback. His athletic career ended in the spring of 1986 when he suffered a freak kneecap injury while playing baseball, but he served the final year of his scholarship as a student-coach for the football team.
Dennis Hueston, LB, Toledo (Ohio) Macomber – At 6-1 and 204 pounds, Hueston was a bit undersized to play linebacker but that didn’t stop the Buckeyes from recruiting him. He was good enough to earn all-city honors on both offense and defense, and he earned third-team All-Ohio mention as an outside linebacker. Hueston lettered for the Buckeyes in 1983, and registered 35 tackles, including a pair of sacks, the following season. He left the team prior to the 1985 season.
John Hutchison, LB, Atwater (Ohio) Waterloo – The 6-3, 236-pound Hutchison was versatile enough to play quarterback and linebacker for his high school team. He began his OSU career as an outside linebacker, but switched to tight end in the spring of 1983. Hutchison spent the remainder of his career backing up starter Ed Taggart, but he was valuable enough to earn three letters from 1984 to ’86.
Gene Hulshult, DL, Hamilton (Ohio) Badin – An all-state defensive tackle for the Rams, the 6-4, 246-pound Hulshult was envisioned as a potential hole-plugger for the Buckeyes. OSU coaches described him as a “fundamentally sound” defensive lineman, and he came from a winning program that posted a record of 33-5 during his three years as a starter. Unfortunately, his college career never got started and he never lettered as a Buckeye.
Thomas “Pepper” Johnson, LB, Detroit (Mich.) MacKenzie – The 6-3, 216-pound all-state terror earned his unusual nickname from an aunt who observed him regularly sprinkling pepper on his breakfast cereal. Johnson teamed with Chris Spielman in 1984 and ’85 to give the Buckeyes one of the most awesome one-two linebacker punches in college football history. Johnson topped 140 tackles in each of his last two seasons and was voted the team’s defensive most valuable player both years. Earning All-America honors as a senior, he was also voted as one of the team captains in both his junior and senior seasons. Johnson was a second-round selection in the 1986 NFL draft by the New York Giants and he anchored a defense that won Super Bowl championships in 1986 and 1990. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and spent 13 seasons in the NFL with the Giants, Browns, Lions and Jets. Since 2000, he has been an assistant coach for the New England Patriots, first with linebackers and now with the defensive line, and has won three more Super Bowl rings with that team. Johnson’s son, Dionte, played four seasons at fullback for Ohio State from 2004-07, and when the younger Johnson was voted team co-captain for the ’07 season, it made the Johnsons only the third father-son combination in school history to serve as captains. The others are Jim and Kirk Herbstreit (1960 and 1992) and James and Jeff Davidson (1964 and 1989).
Jim Karsatos, QB, Fullerton (Calif.) Sunny Hills – After an excellent high school career that included throwing for 4,426 yards and 40 touchdowns, Karsatos took a while to get his Ohio State career going. He was actually part of the team’s 1981 recruiting class, but he underwent knee surgery and delayed his enrollment. He redshirted in ’82, and then suffered a stress fracture in his back the following summer. By the team he had regained his health, Karsatos was locked in behind starter Mike Tomczak. Once Tomczak graduated, though, Karsatos took over and was the Buckeyes’ QB in 1985 and ’86. He became the first Ohio State quarterback ever to enjoy back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons and finished his career with 5,089 yards and 36 TDs. The yardage figure is eighth all-time in school history and the touchdown total ranks sixth.
Mike Kee, LB, Columbus (Ohio) Eastmoor – Kee earned all-state honors as a senior for the Warriors and was named to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game. Unfortunately, he blew out a knee in a summer league basketball game and missed the entire 1982 season. Kee returned to letter as a backup linebacker and special teams player in 1983, but injuries limited him to only two games in ’84. Again, he rehabbed and eventually became at starter at linebacker in 1986. Kee totaled 93 tackles, including seven for loss, and also caused three fumbles for the Buckeyes during his senior season in ’86.
Mike Lanese, RB, Mayfield, Ohio – Lanese was recruited as a tailback after rushing for 1,417 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. After displaying his quick moves and penchant for catching the football, it didn’t take the Buckeyes long to move him to a receiver position, however. Lanese was the starting flanker in 1984 and ’85, and finished his career with 73 receptions for 1,175 yards, an average of 16.1 yards per catch. In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Lanese was also an honor student in the classroom. He was a two-time Academic All-American, a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholarship winner and a Rhodes Scholar.
Scott Leach, DB, Bridgeport (Conn.) Bassick – With a 6-3, 214-pound frame and good speed, Leach was a terror in the defensive backfield and earned co-player of the year honors in Connecticut as a high school senior. He blew out his knee as a freshman at Ohio State in 1982 but rehabbed and became a valuable backup and special teams player for the Buckeyes. Leach was a three-year letterwinner from 1984 to ’86.
Byron Lee, LB, Columbus (Ohio) Eastmoor – Lee was overshadowed on a team that also featured All-Americans such as Johnson and Spielman, but he had a workmanlike attitude and was a member of one of college football’s best linebacking corps during the era. Lee was a three-sport star at Eastmoor, and made an almost immediate impact when he joined the Buckeyes. He was a three-year starter on the outside and was consistently the team’s best player at getting after the quarterback. Lee established a new school record in 1984 by sacking Indiana quarterbacks for 32 yards in losses. That mark was equaled by Vernon Gholston in 2007 against Wisconsin, but it has never been bettered. Lee completed his career with 10 sacks for 111 yards in losses.
Darryl Lee, DL, Columbus (Ohio) Marion Franklin – The 6-3, 258-pounder had a perpetual motor and once registered 30 tackles in a high school game. Lee also seemed to be in the right place at the right time, including his freshman year when he blocked a punt in the end zone against Minnesota that gave the Buckeyes a touchdown. The four-year letterman started at defensive tackle in 1985 and ’86, and totaled 69 tackles, including 9.0 for loss and 3.0 sacks, during those two seasons.
Bob Maggs, OL, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney – The 6-5, 274-pounder earned prep All-America honors at Mooney, and the Cardinals posted a 22-1 record during the two seasons he was a starter. Maggs started his career as a tackle, but switched to center when starter Kirk Lowdermilk broke his leg eight games into the 1984 season. Maggs continued his stranglehold on the position for the remainder of his career and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in both 1985 and ’86.
Tom McCormick, OL, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward – Long before nearly every offensive tackle prospect stood 6-5 or taller, the 6-7 McCormick was one of the tallest OSU prospects at the time. He earned first-team All-Ohio honors and had exceptionally quick feet for a big man. McCormick couldn’t crack the lineup with the Buckeyes, however, and never lettered.
Walter Norley, QB, Warrington (Pa.) Germantown Academy – No one really knows just how good Norley could have become at Ohio State. After throwing for more than 2,100 yards and 25 TDs in 2½ high school seasons, the 6-3, 196-pounder broke his collarbone in the fifth game of his senior season and missed the rest of the year. Then, before he got to OSU, Norley injured his back in a summer all-star game and decided to delay his enrollment for a year. Norley never became a Buckeye and eventually enrolled at Georgia, where he was a backup quarterback and won his only letter in 1983.
Tim Odom, OL, Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller – Odom had a superlative high school career, earning All-Ohio and All-America honors as a guard and helping the Crusaders to back-to-back state championships in 1980 and ’81. When he got to OSU, the Buckeyes moved him to center where he was a backup to Lowdermilk and Maggs in 1984. Odom won his only letter than season as a chronic knee injury forced him to miss the entire ’85 season and eventually give up football.
Mark Pfister, LB, Upper Arlington, Ohio – Pfister was a talented 6-2, 232-pound bruiser who starred at linebacker in high school, helping the Golden Bears to a three-year record of 28-4-1. Power was one of his attributes with a bench press in excess of 400 pounds and a squat lift of 625. Unfortunately, a litany of injuries followed Pfister throughout his OSU career. He suffered an ulcer, a severely sprained knee, a separation shoulder, a hand injury and a second shoulder separation before finally giving up the game after lettering in 1983 and ’84.
Rich Spangler, K, Geneva, Ohio – Spangler was a gangly 6-2, 180-pound kicking specialist that more than one teammate initially mistook for a team manager. By the time he had graduated four years later, he was one of Ohio State’s all-time leading scorers. Spangler kicked 39 field goals during his career, which still ranks fifth on the school’s all-time list, and booted a 52-yarder in the 1985 Rose Bowl against USC, the longest field goal in Ohio State bowl history. Spangler also benefited from a potent OSU offense during his career to convert 177 of 184 PAT attempts. Both numbers remain school records nearly a quarter-century after Spangler last kicked for the Buckeyes. His 294 career points still ranks sixth all-time behind Mike Nugent (356), Pete Johnson (348), Dan Stultz (342), Keith Byars (300) and Vlade Janakievski (295).
Barry Walker, FB, Lancaster, Ohio – Walker maximized his talents despite suffering several injuries and struggling with asthma throughout his playing career. He rushed for 1,129 yards as a high school senior and also set an Ohio prep shot put record at 69 feet, 10¾ inches. When he got to the Buckeyes, he flip-flopped between fullback and tailback and suffered shoulder injuries as well as a couple of concussions. Nevertheless, he shouldered on and won four letters between 1983 and ’86. He also started at the fullback position in 1984, rushing for 154 yards on just 30 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
John Wooldridge, RB, Akron (Ohio) Central-Hower – Wooldridge was an All-Ohio running back in high school and totaled more than 1,500 yards and 22 TDs as a senior. A blend of speed (4.42 in the 40) and power (squat lift of 600 pounds), he became the perfect backfield complement to Byars. Wooldridge was a four-year letterman and took over the starting tailback spot when Byars was sidelined for most of the 1985 season, leading the Buckeyes with 820 yards that year. The 5-11, 190-pounder returned to a backup position during his senior year as sophomore Vince Workman took over the starting tailback spot. Wooldridge finished his OSU career with 1,483 yards and four TDs.
Among the worldwide luminaries celebrating birthdays this 5th day of March: Hockey Hall of Famer Milt Schmidt is 91; former MLB catcher and manager Del Crandall is 79; Eighties TV actor James B. Sikking (Lt. Howard Hunter in “Hill Street Blues”) is 75; actor and former NFL player Fred “The Hammer” Williamson is 71; former MLB reliever Kent Tekulve is 62; reggae musician Eddy Grant (“Electric Avenue”) is 61; Dire Straits keyboardist Alan Clark is 57; comedian/magician Penn Jillette is 54; The Proclaimers frontmen Charlie and Craig Reid (“I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles”) are 47; Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin is 43; Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante is 39; former MLB outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds is 38; St. Louis Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin is 36; actor Kevin Connolly (Eric Murphy on “Entourage”) is 35; actress Eva Mendes is 35; actress Jolene Blalock (Commander T’Pol in “Star Trek: Enterprise”) is 34; model Niki Taylor is 34; Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is 33; and Cleveland Cavaliers guard/forward Wally Szczerbiak is 32.
Today also marks the 46th anniversary of the country version of “When The Music Died.” On March 5, 1963, county legend Patsy Cline was killed when her small airplane crashed in a forest just outside of Camden, Tenn., about 90 miles from Nashville. Cline, who recorded such standards as “Walking After Midnight,” “I Fall To Pieces,” “She’s Got You” and “Crazy,” was only 30.
Others who have passed into history on March 5 over the years include: Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev; Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Pepper Martin; actor Jay Silverheels (he portrayed Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s faithful companion); actor William Powell; and comic actor John Belushi.
I WISH THEY WERE JOKING … BUT THEY’RE NOT
Did you know there are currently three bills in committee in the U.S. House of Representatives concerning the Bowl Championship Series? Unbelievable given the economic circumstances we find ourselves in, but true nonetheless.
One bill, sponsored by Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), would withhold federal funds from any Division I-A school that doesn’t participate in a playoff. Another, whose main sponsor is Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), would prohibit a national championship game on the grounds that it was unfair and deceptive. The third would reject the BCS as an illegal restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and it is sponsored by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii).
Honestly, is this the kind of thing we sent you people to Washington to do? I humbly suggest you write to these three nimrods and tell them to get their eyes back on the ball – and I don’t mean football.
** That poor 40 time in the NFL Combine seems to have sent Malcolm Jenkins’ stock plummeting like that of AIG. Before the draft, Jenkins was projected by most analysts as a top-10 pick. On Monday, Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network released his latest mock draft and Jenkins is nowhere to be found in the first round. Dukes projects Beanie Wells and James Laurinaitis as the lone Ohio State players to be taken in the opening round – Wells to Philadelphia at No. 21 and Laurinaitis to Baltimore at No. 26.
** NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. evidently agrees with Dukes. Kiper had Jenkins at No. 12 on his “Big Board” before the combine. After the workouts in Indianapolis, Jenkins dropped off that board which features Kiper’s top 26 draft prospects. Still, Kiper rates Jenkins as the No. 1 cornerback available this year. “Jenkins has all the qualities you look for except topflight catch-up speed, which is an obvious concern,” Kiper wrote last week after the combine. “Even so, he’s too good an overall performer to pass up in the middle portion of Round 1. Hopefully, he’ll run a little better than the 4.55-second 40 time he posted at the combine workout.”
** For anyone who still thinks Joe Paterno entertains any notion of retirement, look at what former Penn State receiver Derrick Williams told reporters at the NFL combine: “Joe Paterno’s one of those coaches that he eats, sleeps, dreams everything about football. That’s what’s keeping him going. He’s very young at heart. We know that if he was going to retire, something would have really, really had to been wrong, like he died on the field or something like that. I never even thought about it. I thought this year might have been the year and the next thing I hear is, ‘I can’t wait to run out on the field next year.’”
** Some major college programs are interested in playing marquee series while others are not. Every Ohio State fan knows the Buckeyes will play Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech and Oklahoma in the coming years, while LSU and West Virginia recently announced their home-and-home series will begin in 2010. Then there are schools such as Missouri and Wisconsin. The Tigers have announced they will fill out their 2009 schedule with Furman while the Badgers completed their 2011 slate with South Dakota. I understand the reasoning behind scheduling I-AA opposition, but schools should at least put representative teams from the so-called Football Championship Subdivision. Furman went 7-5 last year and South Dakota was 6-5.
** One of the most talked-about college quarterback prospects of the future is David Sills of Bear, Del. He is currently working with QB tutor Steve Clarkson, who has also mentored the sons of Wayne Gretzky and Joe Montana, who share quarterbacking duties at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif. The most unusual thing about Sills? The thing that currently sets him apart from Clarkson’s other pupils? He’s 12.
** When it’s time for me to go, I think I’d like Liev Schreiber to give the eulogy. In case you didn’t know, Schreiber is the narrator of all those great HBO sports documentaries.