Here at Buckeye Wire, we’re going through the best of the best of each position group in Ohio State football history. Next up is the defensive end position that has taken on added significance and importance most recently in Columbus. What edge rushers would you have on your OSU Mount Rushmore?
Ohio State Football: Mount Rushmore Of Defensive Ends
There have been so many great defensive linemen at Ohio State, we made the decision to break out this position group and judge the defensive linemen on their own merits.
A good edge rusher can make the opposing quarterback’s socks yellow, and OSU has caused more than one team manager to reach for a little extra bleach to get the stains out.
Here are our best four defensive linemen that have donned the Scarlet and Gray. If your list differs, feel free to tell us.
Mike Vrabel (1993-1996)
Vrabel’s 36 sacks and 66 tackles for loss still rank as tops all-time at Ohio State. He was a high-motor guy that came off the edge and simply outworked the man in front of him. He was part of a book-end tandem with Matt Finkes on the other side that provided immense pressure to opposing backfields during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
Vrabel was named All Big-Ten from 1994-1996, named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the year in both 1995 and 1996, and was a consensus first team All-American as well in 1996.
He went on to have a distinguished NFL career with the New England Patriots, and has gone on to be an outstanding coach — recently being named as the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Will Smith (2000-2003)
Smith was one of the key ingredients to 2002 national championship season. He was a four-year letterman and had a career that accumulated 21 total sacks.
His senior year of 2003 was by far his best. That year the Utica, NY native racked up 10.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss total. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman and Defensive Player of the Year, and was also recognized as a First Team All Big Ten and First Team All American.
Tragically, Smith was shot and killed in a traffic incident on April 9, 2016 in New Orleans where he had made his home as a key member of the New Orleans Saints.
Joey Bosa (2013-2015)
Bosa had an immediate impact when he arrive on campus. He was so dominant and physically gifted as a freshman that he was almost immediately inserted as a starter on the line.
He didn’t disappoint.
Through his three-year career at OSU, Bosa tallied 148 total tackles, with 26 sacks included in a total of 50.5 tackles for loss.
He was named a freshman All-american, two-time Big Ten Lineman of the Year, once a Big Ten Defender of the Year, and a two-time consensus All-American.
Vernon Gholston (2006-2007)
Gholston came to Ohio State as a linebacker out of high school, but after eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the weight room was moved to defensive end. He broke into the lineup as a starter in 2006 and registered 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in 13 games. That was just the warm up to a very big 2007 year.
The following year, Gholston had one of the best campaigns any defender has ever had in Columbus. He set a school single-season record of 14.5 sacks that included a four-sack performance against Wisconsin, and a three sack effort against the Maize and Blue Death Star.
He was named an All-American and first team All-Big Ten before being selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
Sadly, his NFL career never panned out, but that doesn’t take away from what he accomplished as a dominant college player.
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