After spending last week highlighting the top Ohio State football recruits from the five states the Buckeyes have recruited the most heavily over the past 30 years, we shift our focus closer to home.
Of course, Ohio State's base has always been the Buckeye State, so there are many more great players from which to choose. That means we're breaking it up by region in order to choose the best.
First up? Central Ohio. The Buckeyes' backyard has not produced the same volume of top-end talent as other parts of the state, but there have been plenty of big names among the more than 80 natives to sign with the Scarlet and Gray. The 1980s, '90s and 2000s are all represented in our top five, though there was intense competition to make the final list of nominees.
Check them out and be sure to vote for who you think is best!
Ohio State signed offensive lineman Jeff Davidson in 1986 after he was twice picked to the All-Ohio team for his performance at Westerville North. A Parade All-American, Davidson became a two-year starter at guard and was named to the All-Big Ten first team in 1989. Along with his father, Jim, he is part of one of only three father-son captain combinations in Ohio State history (joining Jim and Kirk Herbstreit and Pepper and Dionte Johnson). A fifth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos, Davidson played three years in the NFL before becoming a coach. He has spent the last 20 years coaching in the league and is currently the offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings.
A walk-on from Columbus Brookhaven, Terry Glenn burst onto the scene in 1995 with one of -- if not the -- best receiving seasons in Ohio State history. His 17 touchdown catches that season are still a single-season school record, and his 1,411 receiving yards have been bested only by David Boston in the 19 seasons since. Glenn also set the Ohio State single-game record for receiving yards with 253 against Pittsburgh on his way to becoming the first Buckeye to win the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver and only the second All-American receiver at OSU. His four touchdown receptions against the Panthers remain tied for the most in a game, and he later broke the NFL record for receptions in a rookie season with 90 grabs for the New England Patriots in 1996. He was picked as the AFC Rookie of the Year by the UPI and made his only Pro Bowl appearance three years later.
Luke Fickell was Ohio's Division III Lineman of the Year as a senior at Columbus DeSales High school, but he was better known as a three-time state champion wrestler. Considered one of the best heavyweights in state history, Fickell applied some of the skills he learned on the mat to become a four-year starter at nose guard for Ohio State from 1993-96. Despite playing one of the most grueling positions on the field, Fickell set the school record with 50 starts and finished his Buckeye career with 212 tackles, including 26 for loss. He had 50 stops, including eight for loss and two sacks, as a senior when the first edition of the "Silver Bullets" helped key a Big Ten championship run that ended with a Rose Bowl victory over Arizona State. A four-time Academic All-Big Ten player, Fickell has been a coach at Ohio State since 2002, serving as special teams coordinator, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator and interim head coach during that time.
The crown jewel of a star-studded 1996 Ohio State recruiting class that was generally regarded as the best in the nation, Andy Katzenmoyer made the short trip from Westerville South High to Ohio State's campus to find great expectations. The 1995 USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year met those and more as a true freshman when he became an immediate starter and led the team in sacks with 12 from the middle linebacker position, proving to be the missing piece the Buckeyes needed to become the first edition of the "Silver Bullets" after a disappointing finish to the previous season. His 23 tackles for loss in '96 narrowly missed breaking Mike Vrabel's school record of 26, and he tied the record for TFLs in a game with five against Arizona State in the Rose Bowl. He earned the first of his three first-team All-Big Ten selections as a true freshman then added All-American to his list of accomplishments as a junior. He also won Ohio State's first Butkus Award as a sophomore in 1997 despite becoming a much larger target for opposing blocking schemes. "The Big Kat" finished his Ohio State career with 50 tackles for loss, a total still good for fourth on the school's career list. He was taken in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, but injuries cut short his career and he now makes his living running Katzenmoyer Performance and KP Crossfit in Westerville.
Justin Boren made lots of headlines before he ever suited up for Ohio State, first by choosing to follow in his father's footsteps and accept a scholarship from Michigan then by deciding to transfer back to Central Ohio to become a Buckeye. After sitting out the 2008 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, the former five-star recruit proved to be worth the hype as he entered the starting lineup and earned a spot on the All-Big Ten first team in back-to-back years as a mauling interior lineman. After Boren transferred to Ohio State, younger brothers Zach and Jacoby eventually opted to become Buckeyes as well, and Zach Boren ended up being a team captain as well as a three-year starter at fullback and one-year starter at linebacker.
Honorable mention: Everett Ross, Vince Workman, Roger Harper, Marlon Kerner, Dimitrious Stanley, Rob Kelly, Ty Howard, Derek Combs, Gary Berry, Joe Cooper, Donnie Nickey, Bobby Carpenter, Mike Adams, Zach Boren.