Ohio State star, Dayton native Keith Byars elected to CFB Hall of Fame

Credit: Lisa Lake

Credit: Lisa Lake

Keith Byars is joining an exclusive club.

The Dayton native will be the 26th Ohio State football player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

A player at both Trotwood-Madison and Roth High School, he ran for 3,200 yards in Scarlet and Gray from 1982-85.

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The 1984 Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner and league MVP broke the OSU single-season rushing record that season when he led the nation with 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.

His best game that season came against Illinois when he memorably ran out of his shoe on one carry en route to a 274-yard afternoon.

Despite missing most of his senior season due to injury, Byars is second in Ohio State history with 46 rushing touchdowns, ninth in rushing yards and eighth in all-purpose yards (4,369).

After finishing up his time at Ohio State, Byars spent 13 years in the NFL.

He was a prolific pass-catcher for his position while playing for the Eagles, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets.

Credit: Al Bello

Credit: Al Bello

For many years, he also hosted a youth football camp in Dayton with Martin Bayless.

Byars will be the second Ohio State player from the Miami Valley to be inducted into the CFB HOF, joining Bob Ferguson of Troy.

Ferguson was a star fullback on the 1961 national championship team.

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.

>>ARCHDEACON: Byars cherishes Dayton roots

Also among the Ohio State coaches in the hall of fame is Woody Hayes, who was born in Clifton.

Also part of the 2020 CFB HOF class is E.J. Junior, a standout defensive lineman at Alabama who later served as head coach at Central State, and David Pollack, a Georgia defensive lineman who played for the Bengals.

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