The All-Cooper Team: Defensive Line

Our All-Cooper team vote continues as we try to separate the wheat from the chaff with the defensive line. Which players best disrupted opponents in your eyes? Let us know as we put together the best of Cooper's tenure, 25 years after his hiring.

OK, time for a mea culpa.

We screwed up.

I screwed up.

Last week, I put up a perfectly good poll about the best defensive ends of the John Cooper era, only to screw up the result settings so that we couldn't accurately count the votes in the poll.

Totally my fault.

So what should we do?

We're gonna vote again, and add the defensive tackles in, too. This time, we're using a simpler survey site so that this problem shouldn't come up again.

So here we go.

First we'll list the top defensive tackles followed by the best defensive ends in the Cooper era. The winners of this poll will be the ones we'll recognize in the official All-Cooper ballot at the end of the season.


Ryan Pickett: Started in 1999 and 2000 under Cooper. … Made a combined 109 tackles and eight sacks in three seasons with the Buckeyes. … Forced two fumbles his final season with the Buckeyes. … Was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams before going on to an NFL career that still continues with the Green Bay Packers.

Winfield Garnett: Was a team captain in 1997, his second consecutive year as a starter. … Finished his career with 47 tackles in 1997 with 10 TFL and four sacks. … Had 27 sacks, five TFL and two sacks in '96. … Played professional in the NFL, NFL Europe and arena football from 1998-2008.

Luke Fickell: Started from 1993-96, beginning a school-record 50 straight games for the Buckeyes. … Was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree from 1993-96. … Concluded his Ohio State career with 212 total tackles, including 26 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Dan Wilkinson: Was Cooper's only first-team All-America DT in 1993, while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors in 1992 and '93, his only two years as a starter. … Had 13 tackles for loss in 1993, good for 27th all-time in a single season at OSU. … Had a career-high three sacks vs. Illinois in 1992. … Had 10.5 tackles for loss worth 83 yards in 1992. … Known as "Big Daddy" … Was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft and played from 1994-2006 with Cincinnati, Washington, Detroit and Miami.

Greg Smith: Earned Academic All-Big Ten honors all three years as a starter in 1990, '91 and '92. … Posted 14.5 tackles for loss in 1990 for a total of 67 yards, good for 21st in Ohio State single-season annals. … Finished with 32 tackles for loss in his career, 15th all-time for OSU. … His seven sacks in 1990 is good for a tie for 19th all-time at OSU. … Made 13 career sacks to tie for 17th all-time at OSU. … Arrived at OSU as a walk-on.


Alonzo Spellman: Chosen first-team All-Big Ten in 1991 after making 52 tackles, nine tackles for loss and three sacks. … Racked up 153 tackles, 27.5 TFL and nine sacks in three seasons. … Was a first-round draft pick, playing in the NFL from 1992-2001 with Chicago, Dallas and Detroit.

Jason Simmons: Chosen first-team All-Big Ten in 1991. … Is second in OSU history with 27.5 career sacks and third with 56.5 career tackles for loss. … Was a team captain in 1993. … Had four tackles for loss vs. both Washington and Indiana in 1991. … The four TFL vs. Washington State were all sacks, tying him for OSU's single-game record. … His 18.5 TFL in 1991 is good for eighth all-time in OSU in one season.

Mike Vrabel: First team All-American in 1995 and '96. … Also a three-time first-team All-Big Ten choice, earning those honors from 1994-96. … Holds OSU career records for tackles for loss (66) and sacks (36) and the single-season record for TFL (26 in 1995)… Also had 20 TFL in 1994 (tied for third) and 18 TFL (ninth) in 1996. … His 13 sacks in 1995 set the OSU single-season record at the time, though he's now second in the record books. … Also had 12 sacks in 1994, third all-time. … Had a career-high four TFL vs. Pitt in 1994. … Went on to a 14-year NFL career that included three Super Bowl titles with New England.

Matt Finkes: Chosen first-team All-Big Ten in 1994 and '96. … had a career-high four tackles for loss vs. Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl in 1995. … Is second all-time at Ohio State in tackles for loss with 59 and third in sacks with 25 in his four-year career. … Posted 20 tackles for loss in 1994, tied for third in school single-season annals, before adding 19 TFL in 1995 and 16 TFL in 1996. … His 11 sacks in 1994 are fifth all-time in one season at OSU. … Played in eight games with the New York Jets in 1997.

Rodney Bailey: Started from 1997-2000 … Amassed 17.5 quarterback sacks to tie for 10th in OSU annals, including a career-high eight in 2000. … Helped the 1998 and 2000 teams tie with a school-record 47 sacks. … Finished with 33 career tackles for loss. … Played in parts of six NFL seasons with Pittsburgh, Seattle and Arizona.

Brent Johnson: Started from 1998-2000 under Cooper. … Posted 15 TFL in 2000, 16th in one season at OSU. … Had nine sacks that year, good for 10th in one season at OSU. … His 18 career sacks are tied for eighth in the record book. … Helped the 1998 and 2000 teams tie with a school-record 47 sacks.


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