Keith Byars, 1983, OSU football
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Ohio State football: Dayton prep products nominated for College Football Hall of Fame

Two Dayton natives are among the trio of players representing Ohio State on the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. 

While Roth High School grad Keith Byars and Patterson’s Chris Ward are back on the ballot for another year, James Laurinaitis is nominated for the first time. 

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Another Patterson grad — linebacker Marco Coleman is on the ballot this year along with St. Henry offensive lineman Jeff Hartings. Coleman played collegiately at Georgia Tech while Hartings was a standout at Penn State. 

Laurinaitis, a linebacker from Minnesota, was a three-time All-American and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in his four years at Ohio State (2005-08). He won the Butkus Award in ’07 and the Nagurski Award in 2006. 

Byars played at both Trotwood-Madison and Roth before running for 3,200 yards in Scarlet and Gray. 

The 1984 Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner and league MVP broke the OSU single-season rushing record in 1984 when he ran for 1,764 yards. That mark has since been surpassed by Eddie George and Ezekiel Elliott, but Byars’ record of 2,441 all-purpose yards still stands. 

Ward was a two-time All-American offensive lineman for the Buckeyes in 1976 and ’77. He blocked for Archie Griffin in Griffin’s second Heisman Trophy campaign and was a four-time Big Ten champion. 

Twenty-five Ohio State players have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as players, most recently linebacker Tom Cousineau in 2016. 

Twelve men who coached at Ohio State have been inducted into the CFB HOF, a list that also includes former Ohio State players Ernie Godfrey, Sid Gillman and Earle Bruce. 

Godfrey was head coach at Wittenberg for 11 seasons before spending more than three decades as an assistant at Ohio State. 

He also coached Tigers basketball. 

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The last Ohio State football coach inducted into the CFB HOF was Jim Tressel in 2015. 

Troy native Bob Ferguson, the star fullback of the 1961 national champions, is the only Ohio State College Football Hall of Fame player from the Miami Valley while Woody Hayes (born in Clifton) is the only coach. 

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