MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features OHIO. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.
God, OHIO's football history is a little strange. They've had good teams, but then they fall into great periods of obscurity. Not a single Bobcat made a professional football team (NFL or CFL) for the entire 80s decade, nor was drafted. I'm not entirely sure a single forward pass was attempted from 1979-1992. I'll look into that. But now they're back as a yearly contender for that MAC East. In the end, we've got a nice set of talent going all the way back to the '30s.
Again, here's how it works: we're going to try and come up with a list of nine total athletes from all sports. A couple of them will obviously be from football. Here's an inclusive list of potential candidates, and if any were missed, please berate me as much as humanly necessary.
OT Art Lewis (1932-35) — The only first-round NFL Draft pick in school history, and of course it came during the Great Depression. He was an AP first-team All-American in 1935 and did play long in the NFL (just one year) but would eventually become West Virginia's head coach for a few successful seasons.
LB Vince Costello (1950-52) — A small college All-American, Costello rose to prominence as a middle linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, starting for the team that won the franchise's last NFL Championship in 1964. By far he's had the most prolific NFL career of any Bobcat.
OL/LB Skip Hoovler (1962-64) — This is interesting. Either Hoovler was a two-way player, or he made first-team All-MAC as a lineman and then converted to linebacker, also excelling in that position as well. Or maybe it was all a grand typo. Either way, three first-team All-MACs is pretty sweet, not to mention how fun it is to say his name. Hoovler.
QB Cleve Bryant (1967-69) — If you've seen him in the news, that's because he was recently let go as the University of Texas associate athletic director after some allegations came to light. Not the way you want to be known, but those in Athens will remember his quarterbacking skills guiding the Bobcats to a spotless 10-0 record before getting tripped up in the Tangerine Bowl.
P Dave Zastudil, (1998-2001) — Ah yes, the token kicker. He had a four-year average of 44.6 yards per punt, a MAC record. Three times he boomed it for 73 yards or more. Four times he was a MAC first-teamer. And in 2011 he was second-team All-American by the AP and first-team by the FWAA. Then he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2002 and has been serviceable ever since.
RB Kalvin McRae (2004-2007) — In helping the OHIO program return to glory, McRae also grabbed an individual honor along the way: all-time leading rusher. He's the only one on the Bobcats books with at least 4,000 yards for his career (4,398). Three times he was first-team All-MAC, and he's fifth on the all-time MAC list behind some legendary names: Travis Prentice, Garrett Wolfe, Michael Turner, and Chester Taylor.
LaVon Brazill (2007-present) — He had a special 2009 year thanks to three punt-return touchdowns, getting All-American nods as great as second-team by the Sporting News. And his four career punt return TDs is already a school record. How many more will he have?
And sorry, but seven's my limit. Convince me on Kareem Wilson or others.
Who are your nominees for OHIO's MACwood Squares? Comment below, tweet us at @HustleBelt or submit a FanPost making your case. The final nine will be revealed Friday.
Who's the best OHIO player of all time?
Art Lewis (3 votes)
Vince Costello (5 votes)
Skip Hoovler (0 votes)
Cleve Bryant (19 votes)
Dave Zastudil (14 votes)
Kalvin McRae (23 votes)
LaVon Brazill (8 votes)
Other (mention in comments) (11 votes)
83 total votes