This list includes players who played as recently as the 2013 season and only factors in what they did at Ohio State as it doesn’t factor in NFL success.
The competition for this list is stiff as Ohio State has had some great teams in recent history with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball as they’ve had 27 All-Americans in the past 10 seasons.
Here is Sponhour’s top ten Buckeye players to play for OSU.
This section of the video was for players who weren’t included in the top 10 because they either missed time with injuries or just haven’t completed their career at Ohio State yet.
As the brother of Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa arrived on campus with high expectations. Unfortunately, his last season was cut short due to injury, but he terrorized quarterbacks in the time he was on the field as he ended his career with 17.5 sacks in 29 games.
Smith-Njigba’s 2022 season was cut short after his hamstring injury, but he lit up college football in 2021. He was borderline unstoppable as he set a Big Ten record with 1606 receiving yards.
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Harrison Jr. is talented enough to finish at or near the top of this list. He was the best receiver in college football last year and enters next season with high expectations.
This section of the video includes players who can up just short of making the top 10 of this list.
Dobbins is a player that many Buckeyes fans will remember watching most from this generation. He started immediately as a true freshman and went on to rush for at least 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons.
Haskins led Ohio State to a 13-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory in 2018. He was one of the best quarterbacks in college football as he was third in the Heisman race that season as he threw for 50 touchdowns, including 6 against Michigan.
Malik Hooker has a strong case to be considered the safety Ohio State has had in the last 10 years. In the 2016 season he led a lockdown defense as he picked off seven passes with three of them being pick sixes and was named a consensus All-American.
The Buckeyes have had a lot of star receivers in recent memory and Thomas is certainly one of them. Thomas is largely remembered for his spectavular catch in the corner of the endzone off a double reverse in the Playoff Semifinal against Alabama where the Buckeyes went on to win the National Cahmpionship.
Just like receiver, Ohio State has a long line of star corners in recent memory. Marshon Lattimore only started for one season at Ohio State, but that season was good enough that he deserves strong consideration to be on this list as he was one of the biggest contributors to the star-studded 2016 defense.
Maryland v. Ohio State
Denzel Ward 💥 pic.twitter.com/v52D27qBL7
— The Texas Buckeye 🌰 🇺🇸 (@Stealthpirate38) November 18, 2022
Denzel Ward comes in at 10th on this list as he was a lockdown corner for the Buckeyes for two seasons in 2016 and 2017. His 2017 season was particularly impressive as he 15 passes defended in 11 games and was named a consensus All-American.
Ryan Shazier (2011-2013)
2013 First-Team All-American
2014 First Round Draft Pickpic.twitter.com/LznIiniQ6R
— Mr. Ohio (@MrOH1O) August 9, 2022
Ryan Shazier’s pro career unfortunately came to an end in heartbreaking fashion with a spinal injury. Shazier will forever be a Buckeye legend however as he has a strong case to be considered the best linebacker Ohio State has had in recent memory.
The speedy linebacker led the team in tackles and tackles for loss in both 2012 and 2013.
Posting one Ohio State highlight every day until Ohio State football is back: CJ Stroud delivers a perfect pass for Jaxon Smith-Njigba to make a legendary catch to take the lead in the Rose Bowl. pic.twitter.com/3ZW5MsDz9r
— JR Buckeye 🌰🅾️⭕️ (@itsJRBuckeye) May 19, 2023
Stroud comes in as the second highest ranked quarterback on this list. He was of the best quarterbacks in college football in his two seasons of starting in 2021 and 2022 he was a Heisman finalist both times.
He gets criticized for the Michigan losses, however it’s important to note that he played well in both of those games. Ultimately, those losses fall on the shoulders of the team as a whole not just him and he should still be remembered as the great quarterback that he is.
Who’s the best low value recruit in Ohio State football history?
74th ranked WR per Rivals pic.twitter.com/yAJJiOkyTz
— Buckeye Fett™ (@BuckeyeFett) June 26, 2023
Wide Receiver (2018-2021)
Chris Olave cemented himself as one of the best receivers in Ohio State history over his career. He burst onto the scene with a two touchdown performance against Michigan as a true freshman in 2018 and went on to have three seasons of stellar production.
Jeff Okudah (@jokudah) is such a special corner. Watch how he reads and squeezes Ronnie Bell’s route in the first play, then dislodge the ball from Nico Collins on the second play. Continues to prove why he’s one of the best in CFB.#WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/PM3r2SNQNh
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) December 2, 2019
Of all the star corners that have come through Ohio State in recent memory Jeff Okudah tops the list. He was the third overall pick in 2020 for a reason as he was borderline unbeatable for opposing receivers, getting named a consensus All-American in 2019.
— Travis May (@FF_TravisM) January 2, 2021
Wide Receiver (2019-2021)
Garrett Wilson tops the list of all the star receivers to wear the Scarlet and Gray in recent memory. Wilson arrived on campus with high expectations as the top ranked receiver in his high school class and he certainly lived up to those expectations.
Wilson played a lot for a stacked team in 2019 as a true freshman and consistently showed flashes of his sky-high potential. In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, he was one of the best receivers in college football and a big reason why those offenses were so dominant.
Justin Fields briefly left the Ohio State-Michigan game with a knee injury.
First play back, he threw a DIME! 😮 pic.twitter.com/UCoJ0p9B98
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 30, 2019
Justin Fields was a special player for the Buckeyes and many including myself would agree that he deserves the distinction of the best Ohio State quarterback in recent memory.
From a skillset perspective he was extremely accurate as a passer, avoided putting the ball in harms way, and was very effective as a runner when he needed to be.
He also provided moments that Buckeyes fans will remember. Most notably his gutsy performance in the 49-28 victory over Clemson in the playoff semifinal when he took a massive hit to the ribs, but battled through it to lead the Buckeyes to the win with a six touchdown performance.
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) October 25, 2021
Edge Rusher (2013-2015)
Joey Bosa will be remembered as one of the best defensive players to ever come through Ohio State. His accomplishments speak for themself as he was a consensus All-American in both 2014 and 2015.
During the 2014 National Championship run, Ohio State faced a tough challenge on the road against Penn State. In overtime with the game and season on the line, Bosa made a huge sack on fourth down to end the game and keep their national title hopes alive. This will undoubtedly be one of the most remembered plays of Bosa’s career.
“GUESS WHO? CHASE YOUNG!”
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) August 30, 2020
Edge Rusher (2017-2019)
The top defensive player on this list is Chase Young who will go down as one of the most dominant defensive players in college football of the last decade as well.
Young was completely unblockable in the 2019 season as he had 16.5 sacks in just 12 games, won the Nagurski Award as the best defensive player in college football, and was even a finalist for the Heisman.
🎥 #ChampionshipMoments 2014
OHIO STATE 42 | OREGON 20
Ezekiel Elliott with an all-time Championship performance: 246 yards and 4 TD’s pic.twitter.com/vFxHukKvvf
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) January 9, 2023
Running Back (2013-2015)
Topping the list is a guy that is the favorite Buckeye of many who grew up in this generation and will go down as a legend at Ohio State. Ezekiel Elliott was an unforgettable player for the Buckeyes and rightly lands at number one on this list.
Elliott put up great numbers as one of college football’s best running backs of this generation and he provided Buckeye fans with countless memories.
Most notably is his 3 game stretch in the 2014 season that started in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin Elliott ran for 220 yards and two touchdowns. In the Playoff semifinal against Alabama he managed to outdo himself running for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He topped it off with a legendary 246 yard, four touchdown performance to lead the Buckeyes to a National Champtionship win over Oregon.