Imagine for a second you're watching the Buckeyes torch Michigan State. You see #2 Emeka Egbuka catch a ball downfield for another 20-yard gain and you get deja vu of Chris Olave doing the same thing. Naturally, you compare the two wideouts and think wow that's two great players to wear the number 2 in a row. One quick google search later and you swiftly realize that some of our best players have worn the number 2. Greats like Cris Carter, Mike Doss, Malcolm Jenkins, Jk Dobbins, Chase Young, and Chris Olave. I started a conversation with the people in the room about who the best was and of course, you get different generational views. The Buckeye fans who watched carter in the 80s will undoubtedly say him. The generation that watched the greatness of Jenkins will argue a case for him. I (being a college student) will make a case for Young, Dobbins, and Olave. Like everything with sports, it's impossible to compare generations and in this blog, I won't do it. I appreciate the greatness of all these players. I'll make a case for all these players and at the end, ill tell you my opinion, in hopes that you'll let me know yours. (I encourage everyone to watch highlights on these players so you can see how great they really were.)
Like all sports, the greats of the past become forgotten when the new generation of fans comes along. Cris Carter, however, is one of the few players that defies that. When people talk about Cris Carter, one of the first things that are talked about is how much of a freak athlete he was. His ability to get open, his great hands, and how he flew in the air to grab the ball are just some of the things people say about him. At 6'3, he was an absolute nightmare matchup, we see this in the 1985 rose bowl where Carter would set a Rose Bowl record of 9 receptions for 172 yards as a freshman! He only continued to get better. In his sophomore season, he posted a 58-reception 950-yard season with 8 touchdowns. His next year goes down as one of the best all-time performances by a wide receiver ever at Ohio State. In his junior season, he was awarded our FIRST All-American wide receiver. He had 69 receptions, 1127 yards, and an amazing 11 touchdowns. Cris Carter's name is cemented in OSU's receiving history. He's fourth in pass receptions for his career (168), eight in pass receptions for a season (69), fourth in receiving yards for his career (2,725), fourth in receiving yards for a season (1,127), and fourth in touchdown receptions for a career (27). Remind you, Cris Carter wasn't able to play his senior year season.
Cris carter making a spectacular catch against TTUN.
I'll be honest, I went into this blog hardly knowing anything about Mike Doss... All I can say is wow. Doss is without a doubt one of the most athletically gifted defensive backs I've seen play (thanks Youtube). At 200 pounds and standing only at 5'10, he could hit like an absolute truck, combine that with his unreal speed, and you get a defensive monster. In the three years he started he won All-American every year. Becoming only the seventh player of all time to be a three-time All-American and first-team All-Big Ten player in OSU history. As a sophomore, he had 97 tackles and led the team. As a junior, he led the team with 84 tackles. As a senior, he had 107 tackles. More importantly, Mike Doss was one of the captains of the 14-0 national championship team. Mike Doss was the heart and soul of the silver bullets that year where they averaged giving up 13.1 points. Mike Doss was the MVP of the 2003 championship game. Perhaps, his biggest moment was intercepting Ken Dorsey with 5:36 left in the second quarter to lead the buckeyes to tie the game 7-7. Doss was fifth in solo tackles for his career (228) and eleventh in total tackles for his career (331). He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award two years in a row. That award is given to the best defensive back in college football.
Mike Doss's interception return in the National Championship game
At 6'0, 204 pounds of pure muscle, and incredible speed. Jenkins was one of those guys you just chose to avoid if you were the opposition. Teams feared him and often didn't pass his way the whole game, when they did it was a mistake. I could talk about how he was able to cover anyone in man, fly off the edge and sack the QB in a split second, able to knock the ball out of any wide receiver's hands, or read the offense like a book and not let up a big play. I could also talk about the emotion he played with, a true leader on the field who went 100% every play. However, I really wanted to talk about his 2008 season where he had 57 total tackles and 3 interceptions. At first glance, you might be thinking "this isn't the most impressive stat line I've seen" but he covered people so well that nobody threw his way. What's more impressive than stats is the fact that Malcolm Jenkins has an award that only two people have had throughout OSU history, and that's winning the Jim Thorpe award. Antonino Winfield won it in 1998 and Malcolm Jenkins in 2008. He was the best college defensive back in football that year. With only two winners throughout OSU's rich history of defensive backs, that's a bigger deal than any single-season stats. Malcolm Jenkins is arguably the best cornerback OSU has ever had.
Jenkins returning an interception
I remember when Ezekiel Elliott left, I thought to myself "how are we ever going to replace him"? Jk Dobbins completely exceeded expectations. He was so dynamic in the passing game, he was agile with fantastic balance, impossible to tackle, and had lightening fast speed. He was one of those running backs where if there was an open hole in the DL he could bust out of it for 15-20 yards extremely easily. That speed was a big reason he rushed for 100 yards or more 19 times throughout his career at OSU. I think he stamped his buckeye legacy in the 2019-2020 game against TTUN where he carried the ball 31 times and had 211 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns. He was simply unstoppable. He continued on that dominating play when we faced a good Wisconsin team. He carried the ball 33 times for 172 yards. Finally, in the crushing loss to Clemson, he had an unreal game with 18 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown. The 2019 season was one of the most special seasons I've ever seen from a single player wearing the Scarlet and Gray jersey. That year, he became the only running back ever to top 2000 yards in a single season. He is the only buckeye to ever rush for 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore, and junior year. He's second behind Archie Griffen in average yards per game for his career (106.2), fourth in average yards per game in a season (143.1), and second in rushing yards for a career(4459). Dobbins's career as a buckeye can be put into one word, legendary. it was honestly one of the greatest years in running back history at our program. With the talent OSU has had at the running back position, being named in the top 5 by most is a great list to be on. He makes a great case as the best player to wear #2.
Dobbins flying into the endzone for his fourth TD against TTUN.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The most dominant defensive force I've ever seen as a college athlete. Chase Young was one of those players where you watch him play and just have your mouth open at how he bullied offenses. He was 265 pounds at 6'5 and just a pure athlete. It's hard to put into words how great he actually was... he just simply was one of the best defensive players we've ever had. The speed to fly around the edge, the power to get any blocker off of him, and the ability to diagnose the play as it was happening is the reason people called him the scariest player in college football. It's also the reason he was an All-American and won 6 major awards including the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, both of which are awarded to the best defensive player in college football. He also won The Ted Hendricks award which is awarded to the best defensive end in college football. Chase was a Heisman finalist (finished fourth) as well, only the ninth defensive player out of 159 total finalists since 1982. When it comes to breaking OSU defensive records he is tied for first in tackles for loss in a game (5), fourth in tackles for loss in a season (21), tied for first in QB sacks in a game (4), first in QB sacks in a season (16.5), and second in career QB sacks (30.5). In 2019 he led the nation in QB sacks and sacks per game. Being this dominant as a defensive end is no easy thing, when you're that good you have to deal with double teams and the QB always being aware of where you're at on the field. The problem was, it didn't matter if you doubled-team him because he would find a way to cause chaos anyway. I encourage you to specifically watch his highlights in 2019 just so you can see how unstoppable he really was. Chase young simply was one of the best defensive players to ever walk through Ohio State.
Chase Young preparing for a play
As a 3 star recruit coming out of California, he really wasn't on the radar how people might think he was. It makes his story that much cooler because he's living proof the amount of stars an athlete has no bearing on what impact he can make. As a freshman, he had KJ Hill, Paris Campbell, and Terry Mclaurin in front of him so he didn't see much playing time. However, when his sophomore year came around he and Justin Fields had this immediate connection that everyone in the college football scene could see. He popped off 48 receptions and 840 yards with 12 TD. Buckeye fans knew during his sophomore year he was going to be a special player and had the potential to be one of the greatest wide receivers we've seen. During his junior year and senior year, he just got better and better. He was so unguardable, his speed downfield was so underrated, his ability to keep his eyes locked on the ball while downfield, and his route running was the best I've ever seen. He was just a fun guy to watch on the field because you knew when Fields or Stroud would launch the ball downfield 50+ yards it had a good chance to be caught by Olave. His best year was in 2021 when he caught 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 TD. As for OSU records, Olave ranks third in receptions for a career (176), ninth in pass receptions in a season (65), sixth in pass receptions for a game (12), fifth in receiving yards for a career (2,711), first in touchdown receptions in a career (35), and third in touchdown receptions for a season(13). When you think of all the great wide receivers throughout OSU's history it wouldn't make any sense not to have Chris Olave in the conversation for the top 5-10. Not only was his stat line impressive but his presence on the football field extends way past the stat line. The leadership and the way he embodied being a Buckeye were so genuine.
Olave being raised after a TD.
Who's the GOAT?:
I usually stray away from the "GOAT" topics because it requires you to compare generations and worst take away from someone's greatness. I am not doing either of those in this blog, the great players from the past paved the way for OSU to carry a winning tradition. The great players of today hold that tradition in the highest respects. I wrote this article because of the legends that have worn jersey #2 throughout our great school's history. All of these players are arguably the best or one of the best in their respective positions, you can make a case for any of these players to be the greatest to wear #2. Doss and Jenkins as defensive backs, Olave and Carter as wide receivers, Chase young as a defensive end, and finally Dobbins as running back. These players are legends and deserve all the flowers for their careers here at tOSU. For the sake of this blog, however, I am going to give my answer as to who I think the best player is to put on the #2 jersey. In my young and humble opinion, I really think Chase Young is the greatest player to wear #2 at Ohio State. Young being a Heisman finalist as a defensive player, all of the awards, and the force he was on the field just was so dominating. He showed no mercy and was easily one of the most exciting players to watch on the field. He made every offensive lineman trying to block him look straight-up silly. Young was a monster and with all his credentials and records it leads me to believe he was the GOAT to wear #2. Men lie, women lie, but the stats don't. I'd love to hear what you guys think so please leave a comment and like! Thank you to the Victory Bell for allowing me to write this blog and expect more from me! Go, Bucks.