Ohio State football notebook: Leggett, quarterback on 1954 team, dies at 79
Dave Leggett, who starred as a quarterback and safety on Woody Hayes’ first Ohio State national championship team in 1954, died earlier this week after a long illness in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 79.
Though he was the MVP of the Buckeyes’ win over Southern California in the Rose Bowl to cap a 10-0 season, Leggett is best remembered for a tackle and a drive in the regular season-finale against Michigan. Leggett stopped a Michigan ballcarrier a half-yard short of the goal line on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 7. Leggett then guided the Buckeyes 99 yards to the go-ahead score, a touchdown pass to Dick Brubaker, and Ohio State went on to win 21-7.
It was Leggett’s sure ball-handling in the rain of the Rose Bowl that led primarily to his MVP award. But he also recovered a fumble to set up one touchdown, a 21-yard pass to Bobby Watkins, and he scored on a 3-yard run in the 20-7 win.
After a double stint in the Air Force sandwiching a short stay in the Canadian Football League, Leggett, a native of New Philadelphia, got into the investment and financial planning business in Colorado Springs.
Ohio State’s spring practice yesterday was closed to the media, but a team spokesman confirmed that hybrid back Jordan Hall was back on the field, though he is still limited due to a hamstring pull suffered the first week of drills. Hall had missed the past couple of practices on orders of coach Urban Meyer because he had some academic work that needed to be done.
Putting on a clinic
Meyer and his staff are having the annual coaches clinic, which attracts several thousand coaches — primarily high school — and runs through Saturday morning’s full-scale scrimmage. Today there will be several presentations starting at 9 a.m., including one by Meyer at noon and one by former Notre Dame coach and current ESPN analyst Lou Holtz in the evening. Holtz was on hand yesterday.
Washington stepping up
There are seven starting spots up for grabs on defense, including six in the front seven, but it appears that sophomore Adolphus Washington is laying claim to one of the line spots.
“The guy I have seen making plays all over the place is Adolphus Washington,” senior starting safety C.J. Barnett said. “He’s doing his thing, which is great to see, being a young guy stepping up in there. We’re expecting a lot out of him. We’re counting on him, we’re counting on all of them.”
Returning strong safety Christian Bryant, also a senior, concurred, and said Washington has company.
“Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence, they look incredible right now to me,” Bryant said. “Those guys, they don’t stop going. It’s like we have another John Simon just stepping right up — not quite as old or experienced like John Simon, but they’re doing a pretty good job.”