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Buckeyes Buckeye Archive The Ten Greatest Buckeyes Of All-Time: #4 Orlando Pace
Written by Mike Furlan

Mike Furlan
Coming in at number four in Furls countdown of the ten greatest Buckeye football players ever is the most dominant collegiate offensive lineman I've ever seen play. Orlando Pace won the Lombardi Trophy twice at Ohio State, then was the number one pick in the NFL Draft as an early entry ... an astonishing feat for an offensive lineman. The term "pancake block", which is now commonly used, was made popular by Pace during his three year reign of terror in Columbus.

10 - Rex Kern

#9 - Jim Stillwagon

#8 - Randy Gradishar

#7 - Vic Janowicz

#6 - Troy Smith

#5 - "Hopalong" Cassady

Orlando Pace, probably the greatest offensive lineman to set foot in Ohio Stadium, comes in at number four in my list of the ten greatest Buckeyes ever. Pace was an absolutely dominant tackle during his three years at Ohio State and was an integral part of some of one of the best offenses that Ohio State has ever put on the field and a huge asset in Eddie George’s 1995 Heisman Trophy campaign.

In 1995 Pace leveled Big Ten competition en route to his first of two Lombardi Awards, an astonishing feat for a sophomore. Pace was so dominant in 1995 that had he been able to come out into the NFL draft he would’ve likely been a top five pick. The now commonly used term, “pancake block” was coined to describe the end result of his blocks with him often lying on top of his flattened defender.

Pace followed up his sensational sophomore season with the type of junior season that cemented his legacy as one of Ohio State’s all time greats. In the 1996 campaign, Pace was so dominant that he won his second Lombardi Award and an Outland Trophy en route to a second place finish in the 1996 Heisman Trophy voting and Big Ten offensive player of the year accolades. This performance is eerily similar to that of another great Ohio State tackle, John Hicks who completed all of the preceding accolades in his senior season, 1973.

When Pace arrived in Columbus in 1994, great things were expected of the young man, for he had crushed his high school competition in northwest Ohio, but I don’t think anyone saw a two time Lombardi award winner and an Outland Trophy recipient. Pace was so dominant that he did not allow a sack in his first two years as a starter, as a freshman and sophomore. Among Pace’s victims, future NFL All-Pro Simeon Rice who was pancaked ten times and absolutely dominated.

Pace’s Buckeye career came to an end following that junior season in 1996 with his selection as the first overall draft choice, a decision that the St. Louis Rams will never regret.

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