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Countdown To Kickoff: Best Buckeye Ever To Wear No. 26

As the countdown to Ohio State's season opener against Bowling Green gets closer, the Buckeye Sports staff is continuing its Best Buckeye Ever series. We stand just 26 days from kickoff, so it is time to reveal our pick for the Best Buckeye Ever to don that number.

As we get closer to kickoff in Ohio Stadium on Sept. 3, we at Buckeye Sports are continuing with our Best Buckeye Ever series. We are now just 26 days away and, there are a few solid names on this list. 

From 2003-2005, cornerback Ashton Youboty donned the No. 26 and in just three seasons, made his mark in the Ohio State record books. In just his second year as a Buckeye, Youboty deflected 14 passes which puts him in a tie with Dustin Fox for fifth most in a season in school history. Fox deflected 14 during OSU's title run in 2002. 

Perhaps one of Youboty's most memorable plays came against Michigan in that same 2004 season, when he stepped in front of a Chad Henne pass on the goal line and intercepted the ball, preserving a 20 point lead for the Buckeyes, who would pull off the upset 37-21 over their archrival. 

Second on our list is another member of Ohio State's secondary, Will Allen. While he switched his number to No. 4 for his senior season in 2003, we decided since he wore No. 26 for three of his four years, he deserves a mention. 

Allen helped the Buckeyes to a national title in 2002 as Ohio State's nickel man as he backed up the likes of Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey in the defensive secondary. He perhaps known best nationally, at least in his college career, for being the one to knock Miami (FL) star running back out of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl with a gruesome knee injury. To Buckeye fans, his last second interception of Michigan quarterback John Navarre on the final play of the 2002 edition of The Game is what makes him stand out.

During his senior season in which he switched jersey numbers, Allen was named a first team All-American and a team captain. In a game against San Diego State, he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown, tying the school record for longest such return.

While Youboty and Allen could both make an argument for the Best Buckeye Ever at this number, we are making running back Robert Smith our pick here.

After wearing No. 32 as a freshman, Smith donned No. 26 for his final two seasons as a Buckeye and made a difference in the Ohio State backfield. While some Buckeye fans relate Smith to disputes with the coaching staff, he still made his mark in OSU history. Twice he led the team in rushing, tallying 1,126 yards and eight rushing scores in 1990 and 819 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1992. 

Despite playing just two true seasons, Smith ranks second in school history behind just Archie Griffin for average all-purpose per game in a career. He averaged 123.1 total yards per game as a Buckeye, still well off the pace of Griffin's 145.8. He ranks 27th in school history in total career yards with 2,708, and fifth in OSU history in career rushing yards per game with an average of 88.4 yards. 

The full list of players to wear No. 26 can be found below. Do you agree with our pick? Weigh in on our premium message boards. 

Adulewicz, Casimir T................ 1959

Allen, Will........................... 2000-02

Anderson, William T. ...........1968-70

Barnes, Jarrod ......................... 2015

Bohlman, Jeff......................1988-90

Coleman, Kenneth ...............1941-42

DeFillippo, Joe..........................1972

Ehrsam, John H...................1944-45

Gayle, James ......................1979-82

Greider, Robert..........................1934

Gwinn, Anthony...................1993-96

Harris, Nate.........................1985-86

Heyman, Joseph...................... 1933

Hyde, Carlos ............................2010

McCarty, Bill ..............................1943

Moeller, Tyler.......2006-08-09-10-11

Mrukowski, William.............1960-62

Niehoff, Kevin........................... 2012

Nosker, William C................1938-40

Palmer, Richard R......................1943

Reeves, Armani...............2012-13-14

Roche, Tom ..........................1974-77

Schabo, Andrew................. 1998-00

Scott, Tim................................. 2013

Sharpp, Warren......................... 1971

Smith, Robert S. ...................1991-92

Theis, Franklyn B. .................... 1955

Tuffin, Brian .........................1986-87

Unverferth, Donald V. .........1963-65

Webb, Ashanti.......................... 1998

Wertz, George P. .................1948-49

Wise, Patrick ............................ 2015

Youboty, Ashton .................2003-05

Zarnas, Gust C..................... 1935-37


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