Ohio State Football: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Tight Ends

Ohio State Football: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Tight Ends

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Ohio State Football: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Tight Ends


We are going through the best of the best of each position group in Ohio State football history. Next up is the tight end position. What four would you have on your OSU Mount Rushmore?


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Mount Rushmore Of: Wide Receivers | Offensive Linemen | Quarterbacks |

Ohio State Football: Mount Rushmore Of Tight Ends

Perhaps no other position group in Ohio State history is harder to assess than the tight end group. For years, they were mostly used as blockers, and even in more recent years have been easy to get lost in game plans that tend to feature the skill positions.

Still, there have been some very good ones in Columbus that have had an impact catching passes, as well as blocking for others. Let’s dive right in.

Jan White (1968-1970)

To date, White is in company by himself as the only tight end to be named an All-American at Ohio State. And he did it with rather modest numbers, for a coach that didn’t like to throw much. After all, three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad.

Still Woody Hayes did use him as a key blocker for the super sophomore team that won the national championship in 1968. For his career, he hauled in 61 catches for 762 yards and eight touchdowns and helped pave the way for the running game that was used early, often, and ad-nauseum under coach Hayes.

He was named All-American in his senior season of 1970.

John Frank (1980-1983)

Frank is by far the most accomplished pass-catching tight end for an otherwise running game heavy Ohio State program. His numbers still stand today, and it’s not even close.

His 121 catches for 1,481 still stand as records in Columbus, and got him noticed by the NFL. You may remember him catching passes for Joe Montana and winning two Super Bowl rings in the eighties.

He was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and was named All-Big Ten in 1982 and 1983.

Ricky Dudley (1994-1995)

Dudley had the benefit of playing with a loaded team that featured Eddie George, Bobby Hoying, Terry Glenn and Orlando Pace. He added to that prolific offense as one of the most athletic tight ends in Ohio State history.

Amazingly enough, he was recruited to the Buckeyes to play basketball for Randy Ayers and was convinced to give football the old college try in 1994 with just two years of eligibility left.

In 1995, Dudley became the starter and had an great season, hauling in 37 catches for 575 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was a matchup nightmare for teams that had to account for other weapons on the field and was able to stretch things out down the middle. The Raiders liked him so much that they drafted him in the first round in 1996.

Ben Hartsock (2000-2003)

The box scores for the native of Chillicothe, Ohio won’t put him on this list — far from it. No, instead Hartsock gets recognized for what he did for some very key historical catches, but more importantly, his ability to block and spring guys open during those 2002 and 2003 years at Ohio State.

Ask any OSU player from the 2002 national title team, and they’ll tell you that Hartsock was also one of the key inspirational leaders of the team.

In that famed 2002 year, Hartsock caught just 17 catches and two touchdowns, but both were key. One was a fourth down TD catch to beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall 19-14 and the other was in an OT victory in Cincinnati. In retrospect, both kept a dream season alive.

He also set up one of most famous calls in all of Ohio State history. He caught the third and fourteen pass that led to the fourth and one play at Purdue.

Holy Buckeye, folks!

 

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