Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Hawkeyes join the fun, rally for Reid


Steve Batterson

Jun 24, 2022 

Participants in the morning session of the Rally for Reid football camp pose for a photo, Friday, June 24, 2022, at

Assumption High School in Davenport.



It was a challenge to tell who was having more fun Friday at the Rally for Reid Football Camp — the group of about 600 participants or the former Iowa football players who volunteered their time as coaches.

"To see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they’re out running around having fun with football, that’s what it’s about," said Tampa Bay offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who flew in from Florida to participate in the camp for the second straight year.

"It’s good to see some former teammates and be a part of something that benefits a great cause, too."

The second annual camp organized by Los Angeles Rams safety and Davenport native Jake Gervase was held at the Jack and Pat Bush Stadium at Assumption High School, where the new turf provided plenty of room for participants in each of three sessions to work with coaches as they rotated through a series of drills spread across the field.

The first 90-minute session attracted 195 participants and was designed for kids entering kindergarten through second grade this fall. Sessions followed for a group of 255 entering third through fifth grade and a final group encompassing sixth through ninth grades.

"With the younger kids, we want them to just have fun with the game, and as we work our way up, the focus becomes a little more on the fundamentals," Gervase said.

All proceeds from the camp and an online auction of items including jerseys and game-worn cleats from former Hawkeyes benefit the Rally for Reid Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research and helps Iowa families who are directly impacted by pediatric cancer.

Gervase’s work in setting up the first camp helped raise $70,000 for the foundation a year ago, and he believes this year’s camp will top that.

The camp is named after Reid Gleeson, the first-born son of Megan and Bill Gleeson who battled pediatric cancer before dying nearly two years ago at the age of five.

Megan Gleeson now serves as the executive director of the Rally for Reid Foundation, working to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation and assist in research efforts.

In addition to the football, the foundation hosted a Rally for Reid Spirit Camp on the St. Ambrose campus Friday which attracted 150 youngsters who learned cheer and dance routines from former Iowa and current St. Ambrose spirit and dance squad members.

"It warms my heart to see people out here doing the things Reid loved, so full of energy," Megan Gleeson said between sessions at the football camp. "We’re so thankful for the Hawkeyes who volunteer their time and travel here to make this a special day."

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nate Stanley was one of the coaches at the camp for a second year.

"I saw a year ago how special of an event this is and to help raise money for pediatric cancer research, I’m honored to help out," said Stanley, who threw passes to youths at one of the drill stations. "Jake was a teammate and he’s put a lot of work into this. It’s a great camp for a great cause."

Reid Gleeson’s treatment included a stay at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where Iowa football players have traditionally visited with young patients and families.

The connections are real and long lasting.

Jordan Canzeri, a running back who ran for 2,073 yards during his Hawkeye career from 2011-15, traveled from his home state of New York to help at the camp.

Canzeri said he still visits a family whose youngster he met at the hospital during his playing career.

"After their son passed away, I’ve stayed in contact and they become friends," Canzeri said.

He sees those connections as a byproduct of what Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff have traditionally taught Hawkeye players beyond the sport.

"Football has provided us with a platform to be involved in more than a game," Canzeri said. "That is something coach Ferentz believes in and teaches and the ability to work to make a difference is something we carry with us for the rest of our lives."

Several Hawkeyes who completed their eligibility last fall, offensive lineman Kyler Schott and defensive backs Dane Belton and Jack Koerner, were among coaches at the camp.

They were joined by linebackers Ben Niemann, Nick Niemann and Pat Angerer, tight end Parker Hesse, defensive tackle Jack Heflin, offensive linemen Austin Blythe and Matt Nelson and fullback Austin Kelly in working with camp participants.

"This is something special, a little bit of what Iowa football is all about," said Heflin, a Prophetstown, Ill., native who made the Green Bay Packers roster a year ago as an undrafted free agent. "It’s a great cause and the chance to work with some kids, that’s special, too."

Austin Blythe leads a drill during the second annual Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Davenport.


Austin Blythe leads a drill during the second annual Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Davenport.


Former Hawkeye Austin Blythe breaks kids out of a huddle at the Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, at Assumption High School in Davenport.


Friday, June 24, 2022

NFL’s Sargent comes home to give back to community


June 24, 2022

During the 2021 Key West Summer Youth Football Camp, Alvin Howard worked with older players on pass receiving. He is scheduled to work with youth this weekend.
RON COOKE/The Citizen

Aspiring local youth football players have the chance to work out this weekend at two different clinics with National Football League running back and Key West native Mekhi Sargent.



On Friday, June 24, from 9 a.m. to noon, the prolific ball carrier, in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of the Keys, will hold the first Mekhi Sargent Football Campaign.


Close to 100 members of the area clubs, ages 5 to 14, will learn basic football skills at George Mira Football Field from Sargent and a group of former Key West High School players.


“Being able to partner with the Boys & Girls Club is something that is very exciting to me,” Sargent stated in a news release. “The Boys & Girls Club is a very special organization that does great work, and being able to use the platform that I now have to work with their kids and bring smiles to their faces is very humbling.”


Sargent said it has been a dream to return to Key West, where he grew up playing in the Junior Football League and went on to great things as an All-American while playing for the Conchs and a successful collegiate career that catapulted him into pro football with the Tennessee Titan, Los Angeles Rams and now the Jacksonville Jaguars.


“This is the first time since I’ve been a professional athlete that I have been able to return to Key West and begin my legacy of community outreach. It’s just the first of many community engagements we will be doing,” stated Sargent. “We have some big plans that we will be announcing soon, and I look forward to being able to get the entire community involved in our initiatives.”

The following day, Saturday, June 25, Sargent will make a guest appearance at the second annual Free Summer Football Camp from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. also at the George Mira Field, for ages 6 to 18.

The first 50 registered will receive a camp T-shirt, said organizer Miguel Gonzalez, who lined up a group of former Key West and collegiate players and local coaches to teach the players the finer points of football.

“I’ve got high school and HOB coaches and former players,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve got J.P. Garcia, Kentrell Freeman, Devin Barber, Jeremiah Osborne, Carson Hughes, Garett Hughes, Alvin Howard, Reid Grissinger, Dorian Cannon, and Mekhi will be there.”

For information about the second annual Key West Football Camp on Saturday, contact Gonzalez at 305-684-6727.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Aaron Craft, Shawn Springs, Tom Tupa, Logan Stieber Among 15 To Be Inducted Into Ohio State Athletics Hall Of Fame


Originally posted on FanNation Buckeyes Now
By Andrew Lind  |  Last updated 6/21/22

Ohio State announced on Tuesday afternoon the 15 former Buckeyes that will be inducted into the athletic department’s Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2022.

The group includes Bill Ray Anders (football), Greg Bice (men’s lacrosse), John Bluem (men’s soccer coach), Charles W. Bolen (football and men’s basketball), Joel Brown (men’s track), Aaron Craft (men’s basketball), Adam Crompton (men’s fencing), Jenna Harris Griffin (women’s track), Alayna Markwordt (women’s lacrosse), Russ Nagelson (baseball), Shawn Springs (football), Logan Stieber (wrestling), Jonathan Sweet (baseball), Tom Tupa (football) and Dan Whitacre (wrestling).

Created in 1977, the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame has inducted 458 student-athletes, coaches and administrators. That includes 128 football players, 45 men’s basketball players and 30 head coaches, regardless of sport.

This year’s inductees, whose biographies were provided by the athletic department, will be inducted during a dinner at the Covelli Center on Sept. 9. They will then be recognized during Ohio State’s game against Arkansas State on Sept. 10.

Billy Ray Anders

Football, 1965-67

Remarkably, Anders never played football until he tried out for the Ohio State team in 1965. Not only did he make the team, but he was a three-year starter and a three-year letterman (1965-66-67) for Ohio State football teams coached by Woody Hayes

Although Hayes’ teams didn’t throw the football much, Anders was the most productive receiver Hayes ever had, catching a school-record 55 passes in 1966 and also setting the school career record with 108 receptions and 1,318 yards for his three-year career. His single-season record stood for 19 years, or until Cris Carter broke the record with 58 in 1985, while his career receptions and yardage records stood until 1983 when John Frank broke both with 121 for 1,418 yards.

Anders was a first-team All-Big Ten Conference performer and an Ohio State team captain in 1967. He started every game between 1965-67, 27 in all. 

Greg Bice

Men’s Lacrosse, 2001-04

A four-year starter from 2001-04 as a member of the men’s lacrosse team, Bice is one of the best defensive players to ever put on the scarlet and gray. A two-time USILA All-American, he was named the Great Western Lacrosse League co-Player of the Year as a senior in 2004 when he led the Buckeyes to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. His play helped Ohio State to a 38-20 record from 2001-04 and back-to-back GWLL regular season titles in 2003 and 2004. Bice was a three-time first-team All-GWLL selection and following his senior season in 2004 was chosen to play in the North/South All-Star Game.

Following his Ohio State career, Bice went on to play professionally for 13 seasons. He was a four-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star and twice was the New Balance Sportsman of the Year while playing for five different teams, including the hometown Ohio Machine.   

Today, Bice remains involved with the game of lacrosse and helping others. He is a color commentator for BTN’s coverage of Big Ten lacrosse and is on the advisory board of the non-profit organization Lacrosse the Nations, which is an “international humanitarian organization that utilizes sport and play to foster education and the development of critical life skills for children living in impoverished communities worldwide.” He and his wife, Emily, spent time teaching at the orphanage in Honduras.

John Bluem

Men’s Soccer Coach, 1997-2017

Bluem is the most accomplished men’s soccer coach in Ohio State history. In 21 seasons in Columbus, Bluem guided the Buckeyes to 206  wins and five Big Ten championships. During his tenure, Ohio State appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 times and advanced to the College Cup finals in 2007.

In 27 seasons as a college head coach, his teams won 292 matches and advanced to the NCAA tournament 14 times. The Big Ten Conference named Bluem its coach of the year four times, giving him a total of seven conference coach of the year accolades. He won the honor three times while at Fresno State (1991-96).

Not only were Bluem’s teams successful on the pitch, they were equally as productive in the classroom and community. During his tenure, four Buckeyes were named All-Americans, two earned Senior CLASS Awards, six were Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, 31 earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, 191 were Academic All-Big Ten honorees and 17 were Major League Soccer draft picks.

Bluem attend Hartwick College in New York. While there the team made three trips to the NCAA Championships, advancing to the final four in 1974. The Hartwick Hall of Famer (Class of 2002) was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who won the 1975 Soccer Bowl.

Charles W. Bolen

Football, 1915-17, Men’s Basketball, 1916-18

Bolen was a three-year letterman on three of Ohio State’s outstanding early-1900s football teams. Ohio State went 20-1-2 between 1915-17 and won consecutive Big Ten Conference championships in 1916 and 1917. The Buckeyes were 5-1-1 in 1915, 7-0 in 1916 and 8-0-1 in 1917 and had a 17-game winning streak at one point, along with a 19-game unbeaten streak.

An end on teams that featured Chic Harley, Bolen was a consensus All-American in 1917 and a first-team All-Big Ten Conference performer.

He also played basketball for the Buckeyes and lettered for three seasons (1916-18). He was team captain in 1917-18 and was a two-year starter. After graduation, Bolen coached football and basketball at Ohio Northern University and is credited with starting the school’s intramural sports program.

Joel Brown

Men’s Track and Field, 2001-04

Brown’s speed as a Buckeye still holds as his career had a lasting impact on the Oho State track and field program. Brown holds the program record in the 55m hurdles (a since retired event) and the 110m hurdles. He held the 60m record for more than a decade and currently ranks third in program history.

Brown was a four-time Big Ten champion, winning the indoor 60m hurdles title in 2003 and outdoor 110m hurdles crowns in both 2003 and ’04. He was also part of the 4x400m relay championship team in 2001. In 2003, Brown earned first-team All-America honors in the 60m hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He was a three-time outdoor All-American – in the 110m hurdles in 2003 and ’04 and the 4x400m relay in 2001. He also captured the 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional title in the 110m hurdles.

Following the conclusion of his collegiate career, Brown earned sponsorships from Nike and Adidas as he competed worldwide and in the Olympic Trials. He was the national champion in the 60m hurdles in 2005 and finished sixth at World Championships that same year. Brown was a member of the world record breaking shuttle hurdle relay team in 2008 at the Penn Relays. In his Olympic Trials appearances, he finished ninth in 2004, 12th in 2008 and 11th in 2012.

Brown returned to Ohio State after graduation as a volunteer coach with the program. In 2014, he earned a full-time role as an assistant coach for sprints and hurdles and has since been promoted to track and field associate head coach. Brown is a four-time USTFCCCA Great Lakes Assistant Coach of the Year and has personally coached more than 25 All-Americans and 20 school records. He has helped lead the Buckeyes to nine Big Ten team championships.

Aaron Craft

Men’s Basketball, 2011-14

Craft is one of Ohio State men’s basketball’s all-time greats. He is the program’s career leader in both steals (337) and assists (694) as he led the team in both categories in each of his four seasons from 2011-14. Craft’s 337 career steals are the most in Big Ten history and, at the time of his induction, are 15th-most in NCAA history.

The Findlay, Ohio, native was a four-time Big Ten All-Defensive Team selection and was twice named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the NABC National Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

Craft played in 148 games over his four seasons, second-most in Ohio State history, and was a part of 119 victories which is tied with classmate Lenzelle Smith Jr. for most by a Buckeye. He scored over 1,300 points and is one of three players in Big Ten history with 600 assists and 300 steals. Craft led the Buckeyes to Big Ten regular season titles in 2011 and 2012 and the Big Ten Tournament title in 2013 where he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Craft was just as big a star off the court. He was a three-time CoSIDA first-team Academic All-America. He was twice named the Division I Academic All-American of the Year in men’s basketball (2013, 2014) and was a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. In 2012, he received the Elite 89 Award Winner for highest GPA in the 2012 NCAA Final Four. As a senior in 2014, he was Ohio State’s Big Ten Medal of Honor winner.

Adam Crompton

Men’s Fencing, 2003-06

Crompton captured three NCAA men’s sabre titles during his four-year Ohio State career from 2003-06. He was the national champion as a freshman in 2003 and defended his title in 2004, closing out his collegiate career with his third crown in 2006. Crompton was a four-time All-American, with three first-team nods and a second team honor after finishing seventh at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

Crompton was part of the Buckeyes’ 2004 NCAA championship squad, with three other Top 4 team finishes, and four Midwest Collegiate Conference team championships, as well as four conference men’s team champions and men’s sabre squad winners. He won the conference men’s sabre crown in both 2004 and ’06. In all, Crompton notched a 105-05 regular season record in the Scarlet and Gray.

A native of Newark, N.J., Crompton also earned many accolades on the international level and was ranked in the Top 10 in the U.S. Senior Division. He won gold medals for U.S. National and Pan American squads.

Jenna Harris Griffin

Women’s Track and Field, 2004-08

Harris Griffin earned all-conference honors each of her four years as a member of the track & field program at Ohio State with three first-team selections. The 2008 Big Ten Medal of Honor winner was one of the top sprinters of her era, winning four individual Big Ten Championships (60m in 2005 and 2007, 100m in 2005 and 2008) and one relay championship (4x100m relay in 2008) during her collegiate career.

indoors and outdoors, during her Ohio State career. In the classroom, her grades put her on the Academic All-Big Ten team four times and she was also a five-time OSU Scholar Athlete.

After graduating from Ohio State, Harris Griffin completed a graduate certificate in human nutrition at Iowa State. She is currently studying for her doctorate in clinical nutrition, human nutrition and functional medicine at the University of Western States. Harris Griffin is the founder and CEO of Generations Nutrition & Wellness – a wellness and fitness service in Atlanta.

Alayna Markwordt

Women’s Lacrosse, 2009-12

Markwordt is the all-time leader in goals (181) and points (314) and ranks third in assists (133) for the Ohio State women’s lacrosse program. She is the only Buckeye with more than 300 points and her 4.60 points per game average is among the Top 30 in NCAA history.

The native of Woodbine, Md., was a two-time Second Team All-American and a four-time All-Midwest/West Region honoree. The 2009 American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year, she earned first-team All-ALC honors in 2011 and ’12 and second team all-conference accolades in 2009 and ’10. Markwordt ended her career on a program-record 65-game point streak, as she notched 90 points as a senior in 2012, the third-most points in a single season in school history. She started all 68 games over her four-year career and led Ohio State in goals, assists and points in 2011 and in scoring in 2012. She had three games with nine-plus points, including a school-record tying 11 against Johns Hopkins in 2009.

A four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Markwordt earned her master’s degree in medical dietetics from Ohio State and is a medical dietician in Washington, D.C. She signed a multi-year endorsement contract with Brine after her collegiate career.

Russ Nagelson

Baseball, 1964-66

Nagelson was a three-year letter winner on the baseball team from 1964-66. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native played a key role in helping lead the Buckeyes to the program’s only College World Series title in 1966. He was named to the All-College World Series team that year and collected a pair of hits and a team-high three RBI in the championship game victory over Oklahoma State.

Nagelson appeared in 84 games for the Buckeyes over his three seasons. He had a career average of .253 with 69 hits and 12 home runs. Nagelson led the team in runs batted in each of his final two seasons with 29 in 1965 and 30 in 1966. He finished his career with 68 total RBI.

Nagelson was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 14th round of the 1966 draft and went on to play in parts of four seasons in the big leagues for Cleveland and Detroit. 

Shawn Springs

Football, 1994-96

Springs is one of the great cornerbacks in Ohio State history. In his junior season of 1996, he was one of the dominant players in college football and was named the Big Ten Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year despite not recording an interception all season. 

Teams simply chose not to throw at Springs, who still led the team with a then-school record 15 pass break-ups and 39 tackles. He was a consensus All-American that year as well and was named first-team All-Big Ten for the second consecutive year.

Springs was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and played in 37 games. He totaled 152 career tackles, including 112 solo stops, and 24 pass break-ups along with six interceptions. His 24 pass break-ups total was a school record and it still ranks sixth in school history.  

Springs was selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft, the No. 3 pick overall, by the Seattle Seahawks. Springs is the highest drafted cornerback in school history, tied with Denzel Ward, who was the No. 3 overall pick of the first round in the 2018 NFL Draft, by Cleveland.

Logan Stieber 

Wrestling, 2012-15

Stieber is one of the most accomplished collegiate wrestlers in the history of the NCAA. As a Buckeye he won four NCAA Division I national championships, four Big Ten Conference championships and the Dan Hodge Trophy. 

Stieber became only the fourth wrestler in NCAA history and the first in the Big Ten to win four individual national championships, winning his fourth title March 21, 2015. That same year, he led Ohio State to the first wrestling national championship in school history. 

Stieber finished his NCAA career with a record of 119-3, boasting the highest winning percentage (.975) in school history. Two of his NCAA titles were at 133 pounds (2012-2013) and two were at 141 pounds (2014-2015). As a senior, he was 29-0. Over four years as a Buckeye, 96 of his wins were bonus point victories and 50 of those were by fall. He ended his collegiate career on a 50-match win streak.

As a high school wrestler at Monroeville, he won four Ohio High School Division III individual titles and helped the Eagles to the team title in 2010. Internationally, Stieber was a freestyle world champion in 2016 as well as a World Cup and Pan American Champion in 2018. 

Stieber is currently an assistant coach with the Buckeyes.

Jonathan Sweet

Baseball, 1992-94

Sweet was a three-year letter winner on the baseball team from 1992-94., He earned Second Team All-America honors after batting .390 in his final season in Columbus in 1994. The 1994 Big Ten Player of the Year captained the Buckeyes to one of the best seasons in program history when the squad was a nation’s best 49-9 and won the Big Ten title.

As a sophomore in 1993, Sweet appeared in 63 games and batted .341 while helping the team to a Big Ten title and a runner-up finish at the NCAA regional. Sweet also earned freshman All-American honors in 1992 after hitting .291 with 26 RBI.

At the time of his induction, Sweet ranks 14th on the all-time list at Ohio State with a .351 career batting average and eight triples. His remarkable 1994 season still stands out as one of the best individual years by any OSU hitter, as he ranks in the Top 20 in a single season in batting average (.390), hits (87), doubles (21), RBI (56) and runs scored (63).

Sweet was drafted in the 19th round of the 1994 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would play six seasons of minor league ball, advancing to Triple-A Nashville in 1998.

Tom Tupa

Football, 1984-87

Tupa was a two-way player for the football Buckeyes while lettering four years between 1984 and 1987. He held six Ohio State punting records at the conclusion of his career, including single season and career average with 47.1 in 1984 and 44.7 for his career. He still holds the two best single season marks, including 47.0 in 1987. His 9,564 career yards still rank second all-time and his 2,963 yards in 1987 rank third. Tupa was a 1987 consensus All-American as a punter. 

Tupa was 6-4-1 as Ohio State’s starting quarterback in 1987 with his most important win coming in Earle Bruce’s last game as coach, 23-20, at Michigan. He threw for 2,252 passing yards and still ranks 23rd on Ohio State’s career yardage list.

Tupa had an 18-year NFL career as a punter, playing for seven teams between 1988 and 2005. He was first-team All-Pro in 1999, was named to the New England Patriots All-1990s decade team and he won a Super Bowl in 2002 with Tampa Bay.

Dan Whitacre

Wrestling, 1925-27

Whitacre competed at heavyweight for Ohio State in wrestling from 1925-27.  He was a two-time Big Ten Champion (1926, 1927) and the second Buckeye to win multiple conference titles in Ohio State history.

A three-time letter winner, Whitacre was a pioneer Ohio State wrestler. The team first competed in 1921 and there were only three Ohio State wrestling teams before he entered school.

 After earning his undergraduate degree from Ohio State, Whitacre attended and graduated from the Ohio State University Medical School and was a Columbus physician for the rest of his life. He provided free medical care for Ohio State wrestlers for many years. His son competed and was a captain for the wrestling Buckeyes in the 1950s.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Forgotten Buckeyes: Jeff Uhlenhake


Uhlenhake’s teams were inconsistent throughout his OSU career, but he was always solid as a rock.

By Josh Dooley@jdooleybuckeye  Jun 17, 2022, 6:31pm EDT

Shortly after I began contributing to Land Grant Holy Land, I realized that I was already struggling to come up with good content for the offseason/summer months. Hell of a start, right? But unfortunately, once the NFL Draft takes place, the content well tends to dry up unless you’ve already dialed in on one of the spring sports or the NBA Draft (but as Buckeye hoops fans... you get it). Ohio State football and basketball – our most popular topics – are still part of the news cycle, but they have taken a back seat. And recruiting... well, there are people at LGHL who do a hell of a job covering it, so I wasn’t about to swim with those sharks.

I needed to think outside the box. I thought: Football is months away, basketball is months away, recruiting is speculative and subject to change... many of the topics being covered now revolve around future events or predictions. But what about former players? And I’m not talking recent or soon-to-be draftees, because those athletes are still being talked or written about.

I am referring to unheralded and underappreciated Buckeyes from decades ago, that have been forgotten by some (or most) since they last donned the scarlet and gray. And there it was: Forgotten Buckeyes. Other OSU fans and media types have taken a similar approach to recognition, but this is my personal way of appreciating those who left an indelible mark at Ohio State.

Welcome to Volume II.

Outside of the football elite, most offensive linemen do not receive a ton of notoriety. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the position they play. Some choose the line, while others are forced into it solely because they are bigger and stronger than most. Regardless, Joe Schmo the common fan tends to overlook the hog mollies (term of endearment) up front because they don’t score touchdowns, sack the quarterback, or pick off passes.

But I could argue that centers, guards, and tackles up front are some of the most important players on the field. If quarterbacks in the NFL are being paid upwards of $50 million per season, what does that say about the importance of those paid to protect the star signal callers? And if a defensive tackle is commonly referred to as the most dominant force in the league (or CFB, speaking hypothetically), doesn’t it make sense to invest in the player(s) standing in his way?

Centers and guards in particular tend to get the shortest end of the stick, but not if I have anything to say about it. This week’s Forgotten Buckeye was a force on the interior, gave many years to the football program, and even dabbled in the movies as a master thespian.

Born in Indianapolis (IN), Jeff Uhlenhake eventually moved to Newark (OH) – 40 minutes east of the capital city – and attended Newark Catholic High School, a school with a football team that was quite successful during the 1980’s (five state titles). He was a part of Newark’s 1982 title team, before earning all-state accolades as an offensive tackle the following year. Uhlenhake then chose to remain close to home, and committed to Ohio State as part of Earle Bruce’s 1984 recruiting class.

Uhlenhake took a redshirt in his first year with the program, as he watched the Buckeyes go 9-3. In 1985, he was inserted into the lineup as a starter at left guard and acquitted himself quite well. The team finished with a 9-3 record for a sixth (!) consecutive season, and although they did not have a 1,000-yard rusher, four backs combined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground. Uhlenhake also helped protect quarterback Jim Karsatos on his way to 2,300 yards passing and 19 touchdowns, the latter of which was a school record at the time.

OSU’s offense was just as proficient in 1986, but the Buckeyes stumbled out of the blocks to begin their season. They scored just 17 total points against No. 5 Alabama and No. 17 Washington, en route to back-to-back losses. However, with Uhlenhake now a proven commodity up front, and stars such as Cris Carter and Chris Spielman on either side of the ball, Ohio State was able to turn their season around. Over their next 11 games, the offense averaged 30 PPG and the defense surrendered more than 17 points just twice (while pitching two shutouts). The Buckeyes lost to TTUN, but ended on a high note by defeating Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, that would end up being Uhlenhake’s last appearance in a bowl game.

Ohio State lost three straight one-score games near the end of the 1987 season, resulting in a 6-4-1 record and Bruce’s eventual firing. Uhlenhake had moved to center for his fourth year with the Buckeyes, and again played well, but the offense was otherwise subpar. Tom Tupa took over as the starting QB, and although he had shown some promise as a backup, he went on to become a successful punter in the NFL — just saying. Backfield duties were split up between four different backs – even though Vince Workman was coming off of a 1,000-yard season – and as a result, no back exceeded 470 yards on the ground. The pass catchers were no more successful, and things only got worse in 1988.

John Cooper was brought in as Bruce’s replacement, and OSU struggled mightily. The Buckeyes finished the ’88 season with a 4-6-1 record; their worst since 1966. Despite the poor team record, Uhlenhake did have his best year as an individual contributor. He was named an All-American by The Sporting News, and his peers voted him as the team’s MVP. Furthermore, he had proven to NFL talent evaluators that he could anchor an offensive line for years to come.

Uhlenhake was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round of the 1989 NFL Draft, and went on to play nine seasons in the league. He remained at center for the duration of his career, starting 112 of 119 games played. Miami made it as far as an AFC Championship Game with Uhlenhake in the lineup, but most of his teams ended up around .500.

However, it was during his time with the Dolphins that this former Buckeye got to experience something arguably better than playing in a Super BowlUhlenhake had a cameo in 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, alongside Jim Carrey and many of his teammates. His bathroom scene was Oscar-worthy. Uhlenhake retired after the 1998 season, and found his way back to Ohio — and eventually Ohio State.

After a brief period as a high school football coach and athletic director, Uhlenhake joined the OSU staff as a graduate assistant under Jim Tressel. He later followed Mark Dantonio to Cincinnati, before moving up to the NFL ranks. He spent two years as the assistant offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, but was then offered what seems like a dream gig with his alma mater. Uhlenhake became an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Ohio State in 2007, and held the position until he retired in 2019.

Uhlenhake was a heck of a football player, an underrated comedic actor, and may not be “forgotten” in the truest sense due to his All-American status, long NFL career, and time spent on the OSU staff. But in case you forgot about (or are unfamiliar with) this Buckeye who dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to the football program, hopefully this brought additional light to just how successful and interesting his career was.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson already raving about Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum


Josh Helmer

Thu, June 16, 2022

The Baltimore Ravens earned immediate praise after selecting Iowa Hawkeyes center Tyler Linderbaum with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.’s Chad Reuter and Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski both gave the Ravens’ pick a grade of “A+.” Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson and FOX Sports’ Rob Rang each awarded the Linderbaum pick a grade of “A,” while The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia assessed the selection as an “A-.”

Ultimately, though, the most important piece of the puzzle is how the Ravens view the addition of Linderbaum. The early returns on that front have been incredibly positive.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley touched in May on how Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and the organization feels about the type of impact Linderbaum will have on star quarterback Lamar Jackson’s ability to make plays.

“When [Jackson] can extend the play, it’s just electric; that’s kind of his brilliance, and that’s when the field opens up for him in a lot of different ways. Lamar is going to appreciate [Linderbaum’s] ability to sustain a block and extend the play,” Harbaugh said then.

Now, following the Ravens’ second minicamp practice, Jackson is sounding off on what’s impressed him about Linderbaum already.

“The chemistry is great, chemistry’s great. And I throw an interception yesterday, Daelin (Hayes) was taking it back to the house, to the other way. I was kind of paused, talking to (Duvernay) during the play, and my center Tyler (Linderbaum) was getting after it, like he was running him down, so I’d just say he’s fast. He’s fast as heck for a center. Man, I ain’t ever seen a center run like that. He’s a football player,” Jackson said.

Hearing about Linderbaum’s deceptive speed and his motor on a play like that won’t shock Iowa fans. They saw firsthand the past three seasons why Linderbaum ended up as a unanimous consensus All-American and the program’s first Rimington Trophy winner.

Linderbaum understands the task at hand now in Baltimore.

“My job is to protect him [Jackson]; I’m excited to get that opportunity. Every snap, every down, I’m going to have to bring it, because obviously it’s a tough league. Every guy across from me is going to be tough. But just the mentality I’m going to bring, just that gritty toughness, physical, I’m going to bring it just to protect him and keep him safe,” Linderbaum said in May.

It’s exciting to see this next chapter in Linderbaum’s football career unfolding. If it’s anything like his time in Iowa City, Ravens fans will understand quickly why Linderbaum is beloved by fans of the black and gold.


Huntsville native and NFL defenseman Trey Flowers hosts Field Day Extravaganza


Posted: Jun 18, 2022 / 07:34 PM CDT

Updated: Jun 19, 2022 / 05:22 AM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — For many young children, getting to be around an NFL player is a pretty big deal; on Saturday, dozens of kids had the chance to hang out and learn some life lessons from a local guy who’s won two Super Bowl rings.

Huntsville native and NFL defensive lineman Trey Flowers and the Flowers of the Future Foundation teamed up with Super Money Kids to host a field day extravaganza for kids in North Alabama.

The kids who attended the field day got to have some fun playing a bunch of different games, but they also got to attend a financial literacy workshop where they got to learn about saving money and how finances work.

The former Columbia standout says he’s thankful to be able to give back to the community that raised him, and he hopes that what he’s doing will help kids in North Alabama succeed in the future.

“It’s super important to me just to give back to my community, my hometown, invest in the future, invest in the kids and just have good energy and good vibes,” Flowers said. “Every time I come back, it’s people that I probably don’t even know but they’re telling me they’re praying for me, they support me and wishing me luck on all of my endeavors. That love and support is very genuine and for me to give back to a city and community that’s growing and always remember the kids is important.”

This was the inaugural field day held by Flowers and his foundation, but he hopes to be able to continue to give back to the Huntsville community in the future.

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