Randy Gradishar set the standard for middle linebackers in the NFL. As a linebacker at Ohio State University (1971-74), he was a two-time consensus All-American (1972 & 1973). He helped the team to three Big Ten Championships and two Rose Bowls.
At the time, Gradishar’s coach Woody Hayes said the player was the “best linebacker I ever coached at Ohio State.” Gradishar received double honors in 1973 by being named to the Academic All-America team and a Heisman Trophy nominee. He was the Denver Broncos’ top draft pick in 1974 and in his ten-year career with the team he never missed a game. Besides playing 145 consecutive games, Gradishar amassed 2,049 tackles, seven Pro Bowls, two team MVP awards in 1978 and 1980, and a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1978.
Gradishar holds the number two spot in Bronco history for number of yards on an interception return in a game and holds the record for the longest scoring interception return, both 93 yards vs. Cleveland on October 5, 1980.
He served as the President of the Broncos’ Youth Foundation from 1982-92. He was the sole inductee into the Ring of Fame in 1989. In 1992, Gradishar was inducted into the GTE/CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame and, in 1998, the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 2000, Gradishar was nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is considered #90 in the top 100 college players of all time by CollegeFootballNews.com.
Best linebacker I ever coached at Ohio State.