2. A.J. Hawk
My favorite Ohio State linebacker of all time is A.J. Hawk. He played with a fearlessness and intelligence that was rare. He played so well at Ohio State that he was the fifth overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2005 and ended his career there as the team’s all-time leading tackler.
Yet in high school, he was just a three-star recruit. Coming out of Centerville High School, Hawk wasn’t very highly-touted. To say that he outplayed his recruiting ranking is an understatement. He was one of the best players in all of college football for two years.
In both 2004 and 2005, he was a First-Team All-American. He was also the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. He was so good as a Buckeye that he made our All-Jim Tressel Team. That was one of the easiest picks that we made on that team.
Hawk was one of the keys of Tressel’s great defense. Offenses weren’t able to move the ball very easily against the Ohio State defenses of the mid-2000s. Hawk was a big reason for that. He was good at stopping the run, rushing the passer, and dropping back into coverage.
The final player on this list is also a great Ohio State linebacker.