Ohio State’s spring game Saturday at Ohio Stadium is set to welcome back an all-time great.
Former running back Eddie George (1992-95) returns to the Horseshoe for the Buckeyes’ annual scrimmage, a noon start on Big Ten Network, as the honorary captain.
In a release, first-year head coach Ryan Day said OSU was “thrilled” to have the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner back on its sidelines.
“The team is thrilled to have Eddie George back in Ohio Stadium with them,” Day said. “This coaching staff is thrilled, as well. He is a tremendous representative of this school and this program and we are certainly honored that he’ll be able to take part in this spring game weekend.”
Unlike last year, Ohio State will not have guest coaches. The spring game in 2018 featured a pair of former Buckeyes, defensive back Malcolm Jenkins (2005-08) and linebacker Ryan Shazier (2011-13), in those capacities along the sidelines.
On top of the Heisman — OSU’s sixth recipient — George racked up awards throughout his final campaign in Columbus. He won the Doak Walker Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year honor and Big Ten MVP accolades.
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George remains in possession of Ohio State’s single-season rushing record with 1,927 yards in 1995. As a senior, he also set the single-game rushing record with 314 yards against Illinois. His 3,768 career rushing yards rank third in program history. George’s jersey number was retired Nov. 10, 2001.
“The game in which I ran for 314 yards against Illinois to close my career was ironic because of the trouble I had as a freshman,” George said. “I wasn’t concerned with breaking any records. I was trying to help my team win. It was all because I stuck with it and knew I could improve. I made many believers in my ability that year and they rewarded me with the Heisman.”
George’s success continued from the Buckeyes into the NFL, where he was selected with the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 1996 draft by the Houston Oilers. His career started strong in 1996 as the NFL Rookie of the Year, ascending from there with 10,441 rushing yards, 268 receptions and 78 touchdowns across nine seasons. George played for the Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1996-2003) and Dallas Cowboys (2004).
The College Football Hall of Fame inducted him in its 2011 class. George, who earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from OSU, went back to school and got an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
“His work ethic was the best,” said former head coach John Cooper (1988-2000). “I can’t imagine another college football player in history having a better work ethic. He is a great athlete with tremendous focus and that is why he did so well at Ohio State and now as a professional. He always was physically and mentally tough and prepared and knew what he wanted. He is very deserving of everything he gets because he works hard for it and never gave up one.”