Countdown To Kickoff: Best Buckeye Ever To Wear No. 16

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 16 days from kickoff, so it is time to reveal our pick for the Best Buckeye Ever to don that number.

As we near just two weeks until kickoff in Ohio Stadium, we hit one of the closer battles we have had during our Best Buckeye Ever series. Many Buckeyes have donned the No. 16 over the years, but three signal callers stand out more than the others. 

We will start with Jim Karsatos, who was a two year starter for the Buckeyes, leading the offense in 1985-86 while also starting at least one game in each year he lettered. 

Karsatos won 22 games in his four years as a starter and made his mark all over the Ohio State record book. His 36 career touchdown passes ranks eighth in program history, while his 5,089 career passing yards put him ninth in school history. His best statistical season came in 1985, when he threw for 2,311 yards, and 19 touchdowns on his way to being named team MVP that season. 

His performance in 1985 led to him being named a team captain in 1986 where he helped Ohio State to a 10 win season and a win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. He did however, go 0-2 in games he started against Michigan. 

Next up on our list is national championship winner and back-to-back Fiesta Bowl MVP, Craig Krenzel. A Michigan native, Krenzel went 24-3 as a starter including a magical run in 2002, going 14-0 and helping the Buckeyes win their first national title since 1968. 

During Ohio State's national championship season, Krenzel threw 2,110 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, non more memorable than the 'Holy Buckeye' touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins to survive Purdue late in the season. His performance in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl earned him the game MVP after he rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns despite only completing 7-of-21 pass attempts. 

Krenzel returned in 2003, compiling a record of 9-2 and while he couldn't get the Buckeyes back into the title game, he did help them reach Tempe, Ariz. for the second straight season. His performance in the 2004 edition of that game earned a second MVP honor, as the senior captain threw four touchdown passes in a 35-28 victory. His 4,493 career pass yards rank him 10th in school history and he compiled a 2-1 record against Michigan. 

Perhaps the most talented and multidimensional Buckeye to ever wear the No. 16 is still playing. J.T. Barrett burst onto the scene in 2014 following the injury to Braxton Miller and had one of the most successful seasons in Big Ten football history. 

Following a disastrous game against Virginia Tech week two, Barrett led the Buckeyes to a string of wins that put them right back in the national title picture. His 45 total touchdowns in 2014 broke Drew Brees' Big Ten record as Barrett accounted for 300 yards of total offense in seven of the 12 games he started that season. A broken ankle suffered in the fourth quarter against Michigan kept him sidelined for the remainder of the year as Cardale Jones took over, leading Ohio State to a national title. 

Barrett's 2015 was less than stellar as initially lost the starting quarterback job to Jones before eventually earning it back following a win over Penn State. He would start Ohio State's 49-7 shellacking of Rutgers in which Barrett appeared to have returned to 2014 form, after once again producing more than 300 yards of total offense. During OSU's bye week, Barrett was cited for drunk driving, forcing him to miss the Minnesota game after a suspension. After an upset loss to Michigan State, Barrett bounced back with stellar performances against Michigan and Notre Dame, earning Fiesta Bowl MVP honors after a 42-28 win over the Irish. 

With still two years of eligibility left, Barrett ranks atop the list in multiple program record categories. His 45 touchdowns responsible for in 2014 are a school and Big Ten record, his six touchdown passes against Kent State in 2014 tied Kenny Guiton's school record from 2013 and his 3,772 total offensive yards in 2014 rank most in a single season by any Buckeye in history. 

Earning an honorable mention on this list is former wide receiver and national champion, Larry Zelina. Zelina was a three year starer for the Buckeyes from 1968-70 and was also a standout on special teams as a return man. His 431 punt return yards in 1969 rank fourth all time in school history. 

The full list of No. 16's in Buckeye history can be seen below. Who is your pick? Make sure to weigh in on our premium message boards. 

Archer, Jack ............................. 1954

Armstrong, Michael...................1967

Barrett, J.T. ......................2013-14-15

Becker, Dave............................ 1995

Bodenbender, David G. ........... 1964

Burrows, Cam .................2013-14-15

Cannavino, Joseph P. .........1955-57

Chancey, Mike.....................1987-88

Davis, Jeff ............................ 1971-73

Domicone, Zach ..2008-09-10-11-12

Garcia, Mark........................1996-98

Giesler, Mike ............................ 1989

Gorley, Rodney....................1979-80

Harrison, Preston.................1991-94

Hatcher, Andre....................1994-95

Johnson, Kenneth E.................1960

Kabealo, John.....................1933-35

Kabealo, Michael ................1936-38

Karsatos, James..................1983-86

Kinkade, Thomas J. .............1939-41

Klevay, Walter S. ..................1949-51

Krenzel, Craig .....................1999-03

Marshall, Clyde ........................ 1945

Oltorik, Ross.......................2008-09

Peyton, Leroy........................... 1966

Robinson, Trevor................2004-07

Ross, Paul.............................1977-78

Ross, Tony.................................1975

Schoenhoft, Rob ............... 2005-06

Schuck, Ryan......................2008-09

Smith, Willie ..............................1974

Spencer, Evan ...................... 2011-12

Sweeney, Paul........................... 1941

Tingley, David R. .................1959, 61

Verdova, Alex S...................1946-48

Zelina, Larry P......................1968-70

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