Ohio State Football: face of tight end position
It’s the near-summer doldrums and you’re probably stuck between queuing for last year’s Rose Bowl victory over Utah on the DVR for the umpteenth time, reading the rankings and rosters that include Ohio State and aspire to the start of the college football season.
It seems like the perfect time to kick off a series we’re getting into here at Buckeyes Wire. We call it the “Face of the Position” and it really is exactly what it sounds like. When you think of a group of positions in Ohio State, who do you think of? From quarterback to linebacker, placekicker and beyond, OSU is home to some of college football’s most iconic and historic players who have taken their place among the game’s finest.
However, a player stands out first and foremost when you wrap them behind the colors of scarlet and gray, and that’s where we’re going to ask for your help.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting players who are up for a job at Ohio State and asking for your vote in a Twitter poll for a player to be tagged as the one you immediately think of for that job.
We’ve already looked at quarterback position, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen. Now we move on to a position that hasn’t had much fanfare in the past, tight ends. It’s a small group compared to some others, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some good ones.
We’ll keep voting for five days, and at the end we’ll reveal everyone’s winner. Be sure to scroll down to vote among the nominees in a Twitter poll, and feel free to write in a candidate if you think of another player.
Jan White (1968 to 1970)
To date, White is in the company of 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 (Woody Hayes) who didn’t like throwing much. After all, “Three things can happen when you’re successful, and two of them are bad.”
Still, Hayes used White as a key tackler for the super sophomore team that won the national championship in 1968. For his career, he had 61 catches for 762 yards and eight touchdowns, helping lead the way in the game of race that was used. early, often and ad-nauseum under Coach Hayes.
White was named an All-American in his 1970 senior season.
John Frank (1980 to 1983)
Frank is by far the most accomplished tight end for a game-laden Ohio State program, at least historically. His numbers still hold today, and it’s not even close.
His 121 catches for 1,481 are still records in Columbus and got him noticed by the NFL. You might remember he caught passes for Joe Montana and won two Super Bowl rings in the ’80s as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
He was a starter for the Buckeyes for three years and was named All-Big Ten in 1982 and 1983.
Ricky Dudley (1994 and 1995)
Dudley had the advantage of playing with a busy team that included 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, he was drafted to the Buckeyes to play basketball for Randy Ayers and was convinced to give football the old college tryout in 1994 with just two years of eligibility.
In 1995 Dudley became the starter and had a great season, catching 37 for 575 yards and seven touchdowns.
He was a game nightmare for teams who had to account for other weapons on the pitch and was capable of stretching things down the middle. The Raiders loved him so much they drafted him in the first round in 1996.
Ben Hartsook (2000 to 2003)
Box scores for the Chillicothe, Ohio native won’t put him on this list — far from it. Instead, Hartsock is recognized for what he did for some very important historic catches — but more importantly — his ability to block and open up guys during those 2002 and 2003 years at Ohio State.
Ask any OSU player on the 2002 national title team, and they’ll tell you that Hartsock was also one of the team’s main inspirational leaders.
In that famous year of 2002, Hartsock only caught 17 catches and two touchdowns, but both were essential. One was a fourth TD caught to beat Wisconsin at Camp Randall 19-14, and the other was in an overtime win at Cincinnati. Looking back, the two kept a dream season alive.
He also put together one of the most famous calls in all of Ohio State history. Hartsock caught third and fourteen assists that led to fourth and a play at Purdue – “Holy Buckeye”.
Twitter Poll – Face of the tight final position at Ohio State. Vote!
It’s a historically slim position, but when you think of tight end Ohio State, which player comes to mind first. Is it Rickey Dudley, John Frank, Jan White, @BenHartsock, or another writing candidate you can choose? Vote! #GoBucks #FaceOfThePosition
— Buckeyes Wire (@BuckeyesWire) July 19, 2022
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