May 31, 2013

Mount Rushmore: Ohio State safeties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With spring practice in the rearview mirror and fall practice still more than two months away, what better time to look back at the ever evolving history of Ohio State football than right now? With this in mind, we'll be spending the next few weeks here at Buckeye Grove unveiling our Mount Rushmore -- top four players -- for each position group in Ohio State history. While these lists are subjective, the goal is to determine which four players best represent the Buckeyes at their respective position group. As always, we encourage you to debate these picks and share your own at The Horseshoe Lounge.

We continue today with a look at our Mount Rushmore of Ohio State safeties.

Mike Doss, 1999-2002

For all intensive purposes, Ohio State's journey to the 2002 National Championship began the moment that Doss unexpectedly announced his intentions to return to school for his senior season. Both the leadership and play of the 2002 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year proved to be crucial for the Buckeyes, whose 14-0 season culminated in a 31-24 win over Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl, where Doss recorded an interception and was named the game's Defensive MVP.

A three-time All-American, Doss started in 40 of 50 games in his college career. The Canton McKinley product recorded 331 career tackles, eight interceptions, eight fumble recoveries, and six sacks in his four seasons in Columbus. He was inducted into the Ohio State Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

Doss was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. He spent six seasons playing in the NFL, including three with the Colts, and one apiece with the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals.

Jack Tatum, 1968-1970

Nicknamed "The Assassin" due to his hard-hitting playing style, Tatum was one of 1968's "Super Sophomores," who helped lead the Buckeyes to that season's national championship. Originally recruited to Ohio State to play running back for the Buckeyes, Tatum's move to safety in his freshman proved to pay dividends for both himself and his team.

A three-time All-Big Ten selection at safety, Tatum was named an All-American in 1970, the same season in which he won the National Defensive Player of the Year award. Over the course of Tatum's college career, Ohio State compiled a 27-2 record, won two Big Ten championships, and appeared in two Rose Bowls. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Tatum was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 19th overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, the New Jersey native spent nine seasons with the Raiders, helping lead them to a victory in Super Bowl XI, before retiring after one season with the Houston Oilers in 1980.

Tim Fox, 1972-1975

A co-captain alongside Archie Griffin on Ohio State's 1975 team, Fox made a name for himself as a versatile defensive back for the Buckeyes, spending time at both safety and cornerback in his four-year college career. The Canton, Ohio native was named both a first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American in his senior season, which saw the Buckeyes compile an 11-0 record before losing to UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Fox was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. His nephew, Dustin Fox, started three seasons for the Buckeyes at cornerback, including OSU's 2002 National Championship campaign.

The Canton Glenwood product was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round (21st overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft. Elected to the Pro Bowl in 1980, Fox spent 12 total seasons playing for the Patriots, San Diego Chargers, and Los Angeles Rams.

Mike Sensibaugh, 1968-1970

Another one of 1968's "Super Sophomores," Sensibaugh may not have been the physical presence that Tatum was, but he still managed to make an impact. The Cincinnati, Ohio native still holds Ohio State's single-season record for interceptions with nine in 1969, as well as the career mark with 22.

An All-American in 1970 and an All-Big Ten selection in 1969 and 1970, Sensibaugh was also a sensational punter who punted for a school record 319 yards in the 1969 Rose Bowl. He was selected to Ohio State's All-Century team and elected into the Varsity O Hall of Fame in 1997.

Sensibaugh was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the eighth round (191st overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. He spent eight total seasons with the Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals, appearing in 92 games and recording 27 interceptions.


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