Our look at the best Buckeye football players by state over the past 30 years continues with Georgia, a state that has become a big one for Ohio State recruiting but only in the past few years.
While Ohio State signed 18 players from the Peach State from 1985-2014, 11 came in the last 10 classes. Tim Walton was the first in 1989 while Stephen Collier and Raekwon McMillan are the most recent.
Check out our nominees, and let us know who you think is the best.
A four-year letterwinner from 1987-90, Olive made the team as a walk-on out of Atlanta Frederick Douglass. He led the Buckeyes in receiving in 1990 with 41 catches for 652 yards. That year he also etched his name in Ohio State lore by catching the game-winning 3-yard touchdown pass from Greg Frey in an upset of No. 6 Iowa. Two years earlier, Frey and Olive hooked up for a 20-yard touchdown to complete a 36-33 comeback victory against No. 7 LSU. Olive finished his career with 91 catches for 1,419 yards, both still top 20 marks in school history.
An All-Georgia quarterback from Columbus Carver High, Walton signed with Ohio State in 1989 and played cornerback for the Buckeyes. He was a four-year letterwinner and started in the defensive backfield in 1992 and '93. Walton had 82 tackles, including four for loss and two touchdown saves over his last two seasons, and he broke up five passes. He has gone on to a coaching career that has included stops at Bowling Green, Memphis, Miami (Fla.), LSU, Syracuse, the Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams.
A member of the star-studded 2002 recruiting class, Mitchell was a four-star recruit at Atlanta Mays High when he signed with the Buckeyes. He was a four-year letterwinner and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He became a starter as a fifth-year senior for the 2006 Big Ten championship squad that went undefeated in the regular season. That year Mitchell was fourth on the team with 60 tackles, including four for loss, and made the All-Big Ten second team. He picked off two passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Northwestern. He also returned an interception for a touchdown against Indiana in 2005, becoming one of only seven Buckeyes with two pick-sixes in his career. He received a law degree from Ohio State in 2012 and served as a student representative to the OSU Board of Trustees.
A three-star recruit from Atlanta Marist, Russell redshirted as a freshman in 2005 then started four games in 2006 before a knee injury knocked him out for the year. He came back the following year to reclaim the starting job and ended up starting 37 of his 44 career games in scarlet and gray. Russell finished his career with 195 career tackles, including 10 for loss and three sacks. He also picked off six passes and forced five fumbles.
A four-star recruit from Suwanee Peachtree Ridge, Cameron Heyward had an immediate impact as a true freshman in 2007 and went on to put together a stellar career on the Ohio State defensive front. He started 45 of 52 career games and finished with 37.5 tackles for loss, including 15.5 sacks while seeing time at end and tackle. He also had an 80-yard interception return his senior season against Miami (Fla.) and was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He served as a captain for the 2010 season, when he led the team with 13 stops behind the line of scrimmage and was part of the All-Big Ten first team. Like Russell, he can brag of never losing to Michigan during his Ohio State career.
Perhaps the last of Jim Tressel's diamond-in-the-rough recruits, Roby was originally headed to Vanderbilt before Ohio State plucked him away (with an assist from Heyward's mom). Roby was a three-star prospect in the 2010 class who remained under the radar as he redshirted that fall before emerging a year later as one of the Big Ten's top talents. Roby's best season came in 2012 when he led the nation with 1.73 passes defender per game (his total of 17 set a new Ohio State record) and scored touchdowns via fumble recovery, interception return and blocked punt recovery. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and started all 37 career games while making 179 tackles with 36 career pass breakups and eight interceptions.